Difference Between Wind Speed and Wind Gust

Wind Speed vs Wind Gust

Wind is a very important aspect in our daily lives. Wind speed (or wind velocity) is the speed of the wind that we experience. Wind gust is a sudden, short burst of wind speed. Both of these scenarios play vital parts in our daily lives as well as in disaster situations. These concepts are widely used in fields such as aviation, naval navigation and logistics, weather forecasting and even disaster management. It is vital to have a proper understanding in these concepts in order to excel in such fields. In this article, we are going to discuss what wind speed and wind gust are, their definitions, similarities between wind speed and wind gust, and finally the differences between wind speed and wind gust.

Wind Speed

Wind speed is also known as the wind velocity. This is a fundamental measurement is atmospheric science. Earlier the Beaufort scale was used to describe the wind speed. However, this scale was not a very precise one, and the regions of this scale had no proper boundaries. This scale was based on observations. The wind speed is mostly measured using an anemometer, and the basic unit for the measurement of the wind speed is “knot”. 1 knot is equal to 0.5144 meters per second or 1.852 kilometers per hour. Units such as miles per hour and kilometers per hour are also used in measuring the wind speed. In the Beaufort scale, numbers and wind speeds are assigned to each category. Beaufort number 0 applies to calm air with speeds less than 1 kilometer per hour. At the other end of the scale, the Beaufort number 12 stands for hurricanes with speeds exceeding 118 kilometers per hour. In the middle of the Beaufort scale, the following categories are defined. Light air, light breeze, gentle breeze, moderate breeze, fresh breeze, strong breeze, high wind, fresh gale, strong gale, storm and violent storm are the incremental steps of the Beaufort scale. The wind speed is a very important factor in areas such as aviation, naval forecasting and navigation, military applications, weather forecasting, disaster management and many other daily routines.

Wind Gust

A wind gust is a sudden increment in the wind speed. These are experienced in any wind condition. Wind gusts in storm conditions are very common. Such wind gusts in storm conditions can cause a tremendous amount of damage in the affected area. Wind gusts occur in short bursts. A proper technical definition for the wind gust can be given as, the maxima that exceed the lowest wind speed measured during a ten-minute time interval by 10 knots. Wind gusts can cause heavy damage on structures such as poorly designed buildings, poorly designed suspension bridges and other structures. Wind gusts can also knock down branches and trees causing power outages.


What is the difference between Wind Speed and Wind Gust?

• Wind speed refers to the instantaneous speed of the wind. A wind gust is a sudden burst of the wind speed.

• The wind speed is properly defined and can be measured, but a wind gust is a phenomenon that can only be described qualitatively.