Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

2019 Edition
| Editors: Charles W. Finkl, Christopher Makowski

Beaufort Wind Scale

  • Dilip K. BaruaEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-93806-6_45


The Beaufort wind scale relates wind speed to the physical appearance of the sea surface and to the effects and damages on land. The sea appearance factors include apparent wave height, the prominence of breakers, whitecaps, foam, and spray. It is the oldest method of judging wind force effects on sea surface and land. The effects on land include damages and destruction of trees, homes, and utilities. Originally devised by Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort (1774–1857) of the British Navy in 1805 to simplify the signaling of wind and weather conditions between sailing vessels, it has since been repeatedly modified to make it more relevant to modern systems of weather warning and navigation.

An updated modern version of the Beaufort scale is shown in Table 1. This is adapted from British Admiralty (1952) and Thomson ( 1981). The Beaufort number and the corresponding lower and upper wind speeds are plotted in Fig. 1. A second-order polynomial fit yields the following equations:
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Coastal, Port and Marine EngineeringVancouverCanada