Measuring the Wind

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Sirocco, Santa Ana, Mistral: For centuries people have looked for ways to describe the wind. From Roman wind towers to simple weather vanes, gusts and gales have captured the attention of explorers and writers. 200 years ago, one man captured the wind in words. Sir Francis Beaufort — hydrographer to the admiralty – devised the Beaufort Scale as a series of numbers and short, concise phrases used to describe the wind at a time when it was the fuel for commercial shippers and a source of fascination for gentleman scientists. But in today’s Weather Channel obsessed-world, author Scott Huler says people have never been more removed from a simple breeze. Gone, he says, are the days of reading cloud patterns and gales to predict the coming weather. Defining the wind.


Scott Huler, author of “Defining the Wind: The Beaufort Scale, and how a 19th-Century Admiral turned Science into Poetry.”