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# Maps - Interpreting wind speed and direction

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Go to http://www.weather.unisys.com/upper_air/ua_500.html to bring up the current 500mb chart for the U.S.

1. What is the wind speed and direction at Denver on the 500 mb chart?

2. Be sure to indicate the direction (North, Northwest, etc.) that the wind is coming from.

https://brainmass.com/earth-sciences/cartography/maps-interpreting-wind-speed-direction-25792

## SOLUTION This solution is FREE courtesy of BrainMass!

With the use of a few simple tools, the interpretation of the numbers and symbols on the map is much easier. Please refer, then, to my attached response and, additionally, I added a valuable resource for you to use in interpreting these types of maps.

Initially, this map is confusing indeed. However, as stated in the response section, with the use of a few simple tools, the interpretation of the numbers and symbols on the map becomes much easier. First, then, you may find it helpful to go over the attached file, to get the basic ideas behind reading the numbers and symbols used on this map.

Now, refer to the current 500mb chart for the U.S., and locate Denver on the map. As you have read in the attachment, the wind barb indicates wind direction and wind speed (refer to the file attached for the different types of wind barb symbols and how to interpret them). As you will note in the Table (in attachment), the wind barb at the Denver location is a short barb--each short barb represents 5 knots.

Calculating the Denver wind speed in mi/hr
Wind speed is given here in the units of "knots" (knt). A Knot is a nautical mile per hour.
1 Knot = 1.15 Miles per Hour (mi/hr)
1 Knot = 1.9 Kilometers per Hour (km/hr)

Therefore, to convert the Denver wind speed of 5 knots to mi/hr, multiply 5 x 1.1.5 = 5.75 mi/hr (or to km/hr, 5 x 1.9 = 9.5).

Therefore, the Denver wind speed is 5.75 mi/hr.

Direction of the wind at Denver

The second thing we must do is look at the direction of the wind bard to determine the direction of the wind. This can be a bit trickier, because the wind barbs always point in the direction the wind is blowing "from" (and not to confuse this with the direction the wind bard is pointing towardâ€”refer to the explanation in attached file).

The wind bard for Denver is a short barb pointing northeast. Let's look a little closer.

Wind Barbs
upper air station reports
The symbol highlighted in yellow (in attachment) is known as a "Wind Barb". The wind barb indicates both the wind direction and wind speed. In other words, the type of wind bard (short, longer, etc. represents the speed) represents the speed and the direction of the wind bard (northeast, southwest, etc.) indicates the direction of the wind.
Wind barbs always point in the direction the wind is blowing "from". As is the case of the diagram below, the orientation of the wind barb indicates winds from the Northeast. The wind bard type (refer to the table on page 4 of file attached to see that this type of wind barb represents 15 knots unlike Denver which has a short wind barb representing a wind speed of 5 knots).

Now back to the direction of the wind. Like the diagram above, Denver's wind barb points in the direction the wind is blowing "from," which is northeast. Note, then, that the Denver wind barb (which is second wind bard from the top on the table on page 4 of the attached file) is pointed in exactly the same direction as the diagram above, the only difference being one of wind bard type (short wind bard versus longer wind bard as the one above), meaning that the wind speed in Denver is less than that one represented by the wind bard type above (short wind barb has a lower speed that a longer one above).

So, the term "easterly" means that the winds are from the east, as in the example above and in the case of Denver. So, in this question you might hear someone say, "Generally easterly winds are found in Denver, with a wind speed of about 5.75 mi/hr.

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