You can become a "wind detective" just by using your powers of observation. When you step outside, do you notice if the leaves on the trees are moving? Can you feel a breeze against your skin?
Of course, it's easy to tell the difference between a gentle breeze and a strong wind, but a little detective work -- reading the clues around you -- can help you to make a more accurate description of the wind's force.
In the early 1800s, a British admiral named Francis Beaufort came up with a system so that describing the wind's strength would mean the same thing to everybody. The table below shows the Beaufort Scale, which shows how each level of the wind looks, both at sea and on land.
Type of wind / Clues at sea / Clues on land
0 - Calm / Smooth water / Smoke rises straight up
1 - Light air / Small ripples / Smoke drifts sideways
2 - Light breeze / Small wavelets / Leaves and weather vanes move
3 - Gentle breeze / Larger wavelets; foam / Twigs move
4 - Moderate breeze / Small waves / Branches move; flags flap
5 - Fresh breeze / Medium waves; spray / Small trees sway
6 - Strong breeze / Large waves, up to ten feet / Large branches sway
7 - Strong wind / Waves 18 - 24 feet / Larger trees sway; flags stand straight out
8 - Fresh gale / Waves up to 23 - 30 feet / Twigs break; hard to walk
9 - Strong gale / Waves 25 - 33 feet / Road signs blow down
10 - Storm / Waves 29 - 40 feet / Trees fall over
11 - Violent storm / Waves 37 - 50 feet, foam covers surface / Widespread damage
12 - Hurricane / Waves 45 - 60 feet, heavy spray and foam / Widespread destruction
How to Be a Wind Detective:
Step 1: Each day, look for clues that show how strong the wind is. Is it a 0 day or a 7 day? Is it a light breeze or a fresh breeze?
Step 2: Record your observations in a notebook or on your computer.
Another fun outdoor experiment is to figure out the temperature by listening to crickets. Learn about "cricket degrees" on the next page.