Sensing wind speed with kites

Jul 28, 2010

Kites have a storied history in meteorological research -- think of Benjamin Franklin and his study of electricity -- including being used to carry aloft sensors that measure wind speed. Previously, however, these sensors, because they were exposed to direct sunlight, were prone to temperature errors that affected their accuracy. Now researchers at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom have developed a way to use a kite itself to measure wind speed.

The researchers, professor of Giles Harrison and applied Kieran Walesby, describe their device in the AIP's Review of Scientific Instruments. The instrument consists of a 2-meter-long and 1-meter-wide Rokkaku-type -- a simple-to-construct Japanese kite design with "good stability, reasonable load-carrying capacity, and a low sink rate when the drops," Harrison says -- attached to a ground-based strain gauge that monitors the tension in the kite's tether line. That line tension, Harrison and Walesby found, is linearly related to wind speed.

"The kite method is portable and cheap, and removes the need for a mast to support an anemometer," Harrison says. "A particular use is to provide measurements above those reached by masts" -- although, he adds, "it will work less well at low levels, or in very turbulent conditions. We expect to refine the kite design to allow operation in a wider range of conditions, and to encourage wider adoption of our approach."

Explore further: Controlling core switching in Pac-man disks

More information: The article, "A thermally stable tension meter for atmospheric soundings using kites" by K. T. Walesbya and R. G. Harrison was published online in the journal Review of Scientific Instruments on July 21, 2010. See: rsi.aip.org/rsinak/v81/i7/p076104_s1

Provided by American Institute of Physics

4.5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Weather kite gets second wind

Jul 23, 2010

The red kite is now a commonly-seen bird of prey in the skies of the south-east, but a specially designed artificial blue kite promises a new way to make weather measurements.

Space technology optimises windmill efficiency

Dec 07, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A French start-up company from ESA's Business Incubation Centre in the Netherlands has developed a small instrument to measure wind speed and direction from the ground up to heights of 200 ...

Invasive snail may damage diet of rare Everglades bird

Feb 04, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Invasive animals often wreak havoc with their feeding habits; however, University of Florida researchers say a huge South American snail is causing problems when it’s the prey rather than ...

Recommended for you

Finding faster-than-light particles by weighing them

1 hour ago

In a new paper accepted by the journal Astroparticle Physics, Robert Ehrlich, a recently retired physicist from George Mason University, claims that the neutrino is very likely a tachyon or faster-than-light par ...

Controlling core switching in Pac-man disks

Dec 24, 2014

Magnetic vortices in thin films can encode information in the perpendicular magnetization pointing up or down relative to the vortex core. These binary states could be useful for non-volatile data storage ...

Atoms queue up for quantum computer networks

Dec 24, 2014

In order to develop future quantum computer networks, it is necessary to hold a known number of atoms and read them without them disappearing. To do this, researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute have developed ...

New video supports radiation dosimetry audits

Dec 23, 2014

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL), working with the National Radiotherapy Trials Quality Assurance Group, has produced a video guide to support physicists participating in radiation dosimetry audits.

Acoustic tweezers manipulate cell-to-cell contact

Dec 22, 2014

Sound waves can precisely position groups of cells for study without the danger of changing or damaging the cells, according to a team of Penn State researchers who are using surface acoustic waves to manipulate ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.