Friday, 19 Jul 2024

The Beaufort Wind Scale: Understanding Wind Speed and Conditions

35kmh in mph

The Beaufort Scale, also known as the Beaufort wind force scale, is a valuable tool for understanding wind speed and its impact on both land and sea conditions. Developed by the Irish hydrographer Francis Beaufort in 1805, the scale has since become a standard in meteorology and is widely used in weather reports and forecasts.

How the Beaufort Scale Works

The Beaufort Scale relates wind speed to observed conditions, providing a range of wind speeds expressed in knots, miles per hour, and kilometers per hour. It’s important to note that these speeds are mean averages typically measured at 10 meters above the ground using meteorological instruments, not at ground level. As a result, wind speeds experienced on the ground may be lower than the figures indicated.

The scale also includes descriptions of likely observations on land or at sea, along with probable and maximum wave heights for the open sea. A sea state rating from 0 to 9 provides a quick way to gauge sea surface conditions.

Understanding the Beaufort Scale

The following table presents the Beaufort Scale with its corresponding wind forces, descriptions, wind speeds in km/h, mph, and knots, and additional specifications:

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Wind Force Description Wind Speed (km/h) Wind Speed (mph) Wind Speed (knots) Probable Wave Height (m) Max Wave Height (m) Sea State
0 Calm <1 <1 <1 0
1 Light Air 1-5 1-3 1-3 0.1 0.1 1
2 Light Breeze 6-11 4-7 4-6 0.2 0.3 2
3 Gentle Breeze 12-19 8-12 7-10 0.6 1.0 3
4 Moderate Breeze 20-28 13-18 11-16 1.0 1.5 4
5 Fresh Breeze 29-38 19-24 17-21 2.0 2.5 5
6 Strong Breeze 38-49 25-31 22-27 3.0 4.0 6
7 Near Gale 50-61 32-38 28-33 4.0 5.5 7
8 Gale 62-74 39-46 34-40 5.5 7.5 8
9 Strong Gale 75-88 47-54 41-47 7.0 10.0 9
10 Storm 89-102 55-63 48-55 9.0 12.5 10
11 Violent Storm 103-117 64-72 56-63 11.5 16.0 11
12 Hurricane 118+ 73+ 64+ 12

Please keep in mind that this scale provides general guidelines and may vary depending on local conditions.

About Sir Francis Beaufort

The Beaufort Scale was devised by Sir Francis Beaufort, an Irish hydrographer and Royal Navy officer, in 1805. Beaufort’s goal was to standardize the subjective nature of wind observations made by naval officers during the early 19th century.

Beaufort’s scale went through an evolutionary process before being officially adopted in the 1830s. It was first used during the voyage of HMS Beagle, captained by Robert FitzRoy, who later established Britain’s first Meteorological Office (Met Office).

Sir Francis Beaufort

Beaufort’s contribution was significant in providing a consistent and objective framework for understanding wind speed and its effects. His work paved the way for modern meteorology and weather forecasting.


  1. How does the Beaufort Scale help in understanding wind conditions?
    The Beaufort Scale provides a standardized measure of wind speed and its impact on land and sea conditions, helping meteorologists and seafarers alike to assess and communicate the intensity of wind.

  2. Are the wind speeds mentioned in the Beaufort Scale applicable globally?
    Yes, the Beaufort Scale is used internationally and provides a universally recognized framework for describing wind speeds and their associated effects.

  3. Why do wind speeds vary at different heights?
    Wind speeds can vary at different heights due to factors such as friction with the ground, obstructions, and topography. The speeds mentioned in the Beaufort Scale are measured at 10 meters above the ground, which is the standard height for meteorological observations.

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The Beaufort Scale is an invaluable tool for understanding wind speed and its effects. Whether you’re a weather enthusiast or a sailor preparing for a voyage, the scale’s standardized measurements and descriptions enable you to assess wind conditions accurately. Stay informed and make well-informed decisions with the help of the Beaufort Scale.

For more information on wind speed and other football-related statistics, visit Pesstatsdatabase.