How to Convert Wind Speed to Pressure

••• Serhiy Divin/iStock/GettyImages

Atmospheric pressure and wind are related both qualitatively and quantitatively. Differences in pressure in the atmosphere are what create the phenomenon called wind in the first place. Additionally, earth scientists have developed a number of mathematical models to determine pressure as a function of wind speed, mostly using data gathered from storm systems.

No convenient predictive equation exists linking these two variables; instead, the relationship is an empirical one, with plots of pressure versus wind speed using a host of data points within the same system used to generate an equation using a mathematical method called linear regression. Using one of a number of related equations derived this way, if you have wind speed, you can calculate the pressure to within a reasonable margin of error.


Differences in air pressure between different points around the globe are fundamentally attributable to temperature differences, which in turn create differences in the density of air. As you might expect, winds tend to blow from areas of higher pressure to areas of lower pressure, in the same basic way that squeezing a plastic soda bottle drives air out of the mouth of the bottle.

Standard atmospheric pressure is 14.7 pounds per square inch (lb/in2), which equates to 760 millimeters of mercury (mm of Hg), 101.325 kilo-Pascals (kPa) and 1013.25 millibars (mb). The unit typically used in measurements within storm systems is the millibar.

Pressure, wind speed and temperature are interdependent, as noted. But researchers have developed two useful equations that eliminate temperature and relate wind speed to pressure directly.

Pressure as a Function of Wind Under Hurricane Conditions

The equation of interest in this case is:

P = 1014.9 – 0.361451w – 0.00259w2

With P in mb and w in m/s. For example, a wind speed of 50 m/s (about 112 miles per hour) would be associated with a local atmospheric pressure of:

1014.9 – 0.361451(50) – 0.00259(2500)

= 990.4 mb

Among the lowest pressures ever recorded is 870 mb, in the middle of a Pacific typhoon.

Related Articles

How to Read a Digital Barometer
The Four Forces That Influence Wind Speed & Wind Direction
How to Calculate Wind Load on a Large Flat Surface
The Relationship Between Pressure Gradient & Wind Speed
Hadley Cell Effects
How to Convert Wind Speed to Force
How Does Pressure Affect Wind?
How Are Winds Formed?
Do Winds Always Blow From High Pressure to Low Pressure?
Wind Speed Vs. Air Pressure
How Does Wind Work?
How to Make a Weather Station Model
What Major Wind Belts Affect Our Climate the Most?
How Does Temperature Affect Barometric Pressure?
Difference Between Barometer, Manometer & Anemometer
How to Convert hPa to Altitude
How to Draw a Frontal Boundary on a Weather Map
What Are the Doldrums?
How to Convert PSI to PSIG
What Happens When Barometric Pressure Rises?