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What is a Wind Vane?

Physics | 7-14 yrs | Reading Pod, Interactive

What is a Weather Vane?

A wind vane, also known as the weather vane, is one of the earliest invented meteorological tools used to show the direction of the wind. It has a pointer that freely rotates on the top of a fixed vertical rod and shows which way the wind is blowing. It was designed to swing easily and point to the direction from which the wind was blowing.

Weather Forecast

Information about wind and weather has always been vital for the shipping fleets, armies, fishing and farming since the days of yore.

Earlier, neither were there any advanced techniques or gadgets of weather forecast nor there were any sophisticated means of communication like television, mobiles and computers that could have conveyed the timely information regarding the weather to the masses.

During the early 1900s, people relied on first-hand observation, experience and folk wisdom to predict the weather and wind condition. A common practice was to toss a blade of grass into the air, to find out the direction of the wind.

What is a Wind Vane made up of?

The wind vane consists of two parts, a pointer and a fixed cardinal directional marker, pointing toward the north, south, east and west. The pointer is shaped in such a way that the mass of each end is even but each end has different volumes.

How does a Wind Vane work?

When the wind catches the thick end of the pointer, it swings it around and the arrow points towards the direction in which the wind is blowing. If the arrow points towards the ‘North’ marker on the weather vane, it indicates that the wind is blowing from the north direction to the south direction. A weather vane will not work if the weights are not equal or the volume of each side is the same.

The arrow design is the most popular design for the weather vanes because of its accuracy, simplicity and affordable cost.

Where is it found?

In modern times, weather vanes find their use as ornamentation for many buildings. You can still find expensive and aesthetically designed weather vanes majestically perched on the rooftops of some buildings in India as well as abroad.

3 Interesting Wind Vane Facts

  1. The large weather vane installed at the airports is known as the ‘wind tee’. At the airports, wind direction may also be shown by a cone-shaped bag known as the wind cone, wind sock, wind sleeve.
  2. Some of the popular ornaments on wind vanes include galloping horses, roosters, fish, mermaids, angels, and ships.
  3. Meteorologists use a device known as an aerovane that shows the direction of the wind and can also measure the wind speed.