What Units Does the Anemometer Measure In?

Anemometers measure the force of the wind.
••• Mark Kolbe/Getty Images News/Getty Images

An anemometer measures the pressure and force of the wind. There are several different types of anemometers: cup or propeller anemometers electronically measure the wind by counting the revolutions per minute; ultrasonic or laser anemometers detect light that is reflected from lasers off air molecules; hot wire anemometers detect wind speed through temperature differences between wires placed in the wind and away from the wind. The most common is the cup anemometer.

Measurement

The anemometer measures in feet per minute, or FPM. The rotation is sensed by a magnetic or optical sensor that converts the signal to FPM measurement.

FPM

An arrow on the vane head identifies the direction the airflow must travel through the vane to obtain proper measurements. An average measurement range for anemometers is 50 feet to 6,000 feet per minute. One thousand feet per minute is equal to about 11 miles per hour.

Uses of Anemometers

Anemometers can be used in weather stations, airports, on ships, oil rigs or for personal use. Most anemometers are attached to wind vanes to detect wind direction.

Air Readings

Readings of airflow measurement are in actual feet of air, meaning the measurement is taken at the height where the anemometer is located. This measurement results in actual feet per minute. Anemometers are placed on the roofs of houses or on top of towers that can be 20 to 50 feet tall. High elevations may give higher wind-speed readings.

Accuracy

Accuracy of the readings can be affected by the angle of the vane and minimum air velocity needed to rotate the vane. Factors that can affect wind source are elevation, nearby landforms such as valleys or mountains, and trees or buildings that may block wind. Anemometers near mountains, valleys or canyons may have increased wind flow.

Related Articles

How to Read an Anemometer
How Does an Anemometer Work?
Devices That Measure Wind Speed
Windsock Vs. Wind Vane
Importance of Weather Instruments
Tools Used in Meteorology
How to Read a Digital Barometer
The Four Forces That Influence Wind Speed & Wind Direction
Difference Between Barometer, Manometer & Anemometer
How to Convert Nautical Knots to Miles
How to Convert Wind Speed to Force
Interesting Facts About Anemometers
How to Calibrate Theodolite
Instruments Used to Determine Wind Direction
Types of Hygrometers
Weather Vane Facts
Tools Used to Measure Hurricanes
Weather Instruments & Their Uses
Tools Used to Measure Tornadoes
Types of Old-Fashioned Weather Instruments