Think Wind – Think Windsocks Australia – Think Weatherworks
STANDARD COLOURS & DIMENSIONS WINDSOCKS OR WIND INDICATORS: For Aviation Purposes White is used for the Primary Windsock and Yellow for Secondary Windsocks. They are by regulation (CASA) 8 foot (2400mm) or 12 foot (3600mm) for larger airfields and airports as well as many pastoral airstrips. The accepted published dimensions are 3600mm in length with a Mouth of 900mm diameter and a Tail of 250mm. For smaller airstrips the 2400mm windsock is preferred and has a Mouth of 600mm diameter and a Tail of 235mm
SPECIAL PURPOSE WINDSOCK COLOURS & DIMENSIONS: Windsocks in this category range from 4 foot (1200mm) to 6 foot (1800mm) long and fall into the following colour categories:
YELLOW / NEON/FLOURESCENT YELLOW: Yellow is perhaps the most visible and is useful colour when viewing the wind indicator from the ground on a cloudy day against a sky full of white or grey clouds. The colour yellow is visually seen from the furthest distance away. Yellow windsocks are suitable for hazardous gas or chemical factories or storage facilities. The colour yellow is classed as an official BIO Hazard warning colour, especially concerning workplace safety such as environmental & personnel protection from toxic or hazardous gases, chemical leaks, fumes and airborne particulates
ORANGE / NEON / FLOURESCENT ORANGE WINDSOCKS: Orange (a very popular colour) windsocks are generally used on building or road construction sites for dust control, or additionally as a warning indicator for traffic safety. Use extensively also in the mining, oil and gas industries
RED WINDSOCKS: Red Windsocks are used as a warning colour on rifle ranges; at gun clubs; shooting events; mine sites; quarries; explosive detonation sites; explosives storage; fireworks displays; explosive building demolishing or in fact, for any areas that maybe dangerous to the public, work place or work site personnel. Red windsocks are often selected by organisations for promotional purposes with contrasting White lettering which is a real standout
PINK & MAGENTA WINDSOCKS: Pink or Magenta Windsocks are used in or near bushland, forests, vineyards, farms, wetlands or grasslands, due to other windsock colours possibly blending in with the surrounding natural backgrounds, or fruit trees, vines or shrubs when in blossom. Also for use when aerial spraying. Having said that the demand for these two colours is practically non-existent
WHITE WINDSOCKS: White Windsocks are used for the primary wind indicator at airports, helipads or airfields. Additionally, white fabrics are natural in colour, and hence do not fade over a long period of time. Environmental factors such as engine exhausts, factory pollution, airfield or roadside dust will contribute to discolouration. A pristine example was produced for Microflite Melbourne
GREEN WINDSOCKS: Green windsocks are used by orchardists, viticulturists, or farmers when fruit trees, vines or shrubs are in blossom for pump spray pesticide drift monitoring
PURPLE WINDSOCKS: Purple Windsocks can be used where industry regulations permit or for use against light reflective building constructions, hence providing a visually solid windsock colour. Demand is very limited for purple windsocks
WINDSOCKS BANDED RED/WHITE; ORANGE/WHITE;YELLOW/BLACK & OTHER COLOUR COMBINATIONS
Banded windsocks are widely used throughout Europe and are increasing in popularity as well as being standard requirement along with Neon Orange for offshore oil & gas related vessels for helidecks as well as onshore helipads. The examples below were fabricated for the Australian Army Parachute Regiment
Footy windsocks are becoming popular with this Hawthorn example produced for an ardent Hawthorn supporter
Banded windsocks with fluorescent night view strips either in Silver or Yellow are becoming more popular. Saves having to illuminate the windsock. Simply shine your torch or vehicle lights on the windsock and the wind direction is instantly shown
Weathervanes & Windvanes – Wind & Weather Instruments
Wind Direction: Mankind has been testing the wind changes in weather and fortune for centuries. From raising a moistened finger to tossing blades of grass into the air, we have employed various methods for checking wind direction before embarking upon work or play.
Definitions: By definition the weathervane, or windvane for some, is a figure that turns freely on a vertical rod and by virtue of its design, always points into the wind. Stated another way, the wind always comes from the direction in which the weathervane points. It is suggested that with the addition of compass points N S E W that a windvane then becomes a weathervane.
Lifestyle:Wherever people have settled, their reliance upon the weathervane has been as basic to them as grinding wheat for bread. The weathervane has always represented a simpler way of life, a life that is tied closely to nature.
At the end of each day and with the dawning of the next, people have looked to the sky and studied the direction of their weathervane. They have plowed and sown, reaped and stored, worked and played, trusting the good directions of the wind.
Origins: Derived from the Old English word fane, meaning flag or banner, the weathervane was part of ancient cultures. Around 48 B.C. the Greek astronomer Andronicus built what has come to be known as ‘the Tower of the Winds’. A life-sized replica of the Greek god Triton was hoisted atop the Tower of Winds in Athens. The base still stands near the Athens Acropolis. Even then mankind realized that wind direction was the near certain indicator of weather patterns. Triton had the head and torso of a man and the tail of a fish.
Global Contributions: As well as the Greeks, the Romans, Vikings, Chinese, Mesopotamians, Germans and English feature prominently when it comes to weathervanes and the English are attributed with introducing them to the New World.
Weathercock: Many of the earliest weathervanes were and still are associated with roosters or ‘weather cocks’. It is suggested that this familiar adornment particularly for church steeples, was ordered by Papal decree and dates from the ninth century.
The asymmetrical shape of the rooster required it to swivel if it was not to succumb to the first gale. The weathervane depicted represents a modern form of the weathercock. The red rooster is a German example by Dr Friedrichs
Themes: The traditional rooster was soon supplemented by heraldic banners, flat and full-bodied shapes or motifs of lions, fish, horses, dragons, angels, dogs, farm animals, birds and the like. Work and leisure scenes later became popular, from gardeners to golfers to bicycle riders. In effect every imaginable shape was and still can be utilized for a weathervane.
Old Father Time: Well-known weathervanes include ‘Old Father Time’ at Lord’s Cricket Ground, London and Hermes at the Rugby Ground Twickenham. Until well into the last century, every community certainly in England had several blacksmiths, doing what blacksmith generally do but additionally crafting weathervanes with skill and pride in work well done.
British inventivness: The work of Paul Margetts on the left was commissioned by the Birmingham City Council for a local Nursery School; part of their Young-at-Art programme.
‘New-World’ Influences: The USA is influential in its attention to and preservation of weathervanes, with considerable sums being paid for fine antique examples of the craft. Having said that, the writer credits the British with world leadership in this art.
Western Australian Weathervanes: Representative examples of Western Australian weathervanes can be found on lighthouses at Woodman Point near Fremantle and Cape Naturaliste. There are meant to be four weathervanes gracing the buildings that comprise London Court in the Perth City precinct.
Australian examples: We would be interested to hear from readers of any significant examples of weathervanes they are aware of in Western Australia or indeed in any part of Australia.
This brief history of weathervanes is one of a series of articles on weather and related topics by WeatherWorks Australia to assist educators and interested readers in the study of Environmental/Earth Science/Earth and Beyond topics.
References www.upanaway.com; www.weathervanes.co.uk; www.forging-ahead.co.uk; Patricia & Philip Mockridge Weathervanes of Great Britain, Robert Hale, London 1990. Acknowledgement to Good Directions Inc of Danbury,Connecticut, USA for historical material. Weathervane motifs used in this potted history, where they are not specifically acknowledged in the text, include: ‘Man with Dogs’ Blackforge Weathervanes UK; ‘Modern Weathercock’ Green’s Weathervanes UK; ‘Old Father Time’ Otter Weathervanes UK; Put Paul Margetts on your must visit list when in the UK.
Comprehensive Curriculum resources for students and teachers’ resources on Earth Science/Environmental Science/Earth and Space, embracing weather and weather experiements can be found at the Australian Academy of Science- Primary Connections; Bureau of Meteorology; and Sydney University- UniServe Connections
Getting a number of scientists to agree on anything has always been a problem. Especially when it comes to data collection, and even more so when the data has to be collected from different latitudes and altitudes. The Stevenson Screen was designed to hold instruments for measuring temperature, humidity and air pressure, and to avoid irregularities in data collection. Few scientists dispute its effectiveness
Description of the Stevenson Screen
The screen is actually a box, made of a double layer of louvred screens at all four sides, with a solid top and base. The box is set on sturdy legs at a designated height, which is 1.25m in the UK, but 2m in many other places where the ground radiates a lot of heat. The whole structure is painted white to reflect the heat of the sun, and the doors open towards the north (south in the Southern Hemisphere). The screen is designed to allow free passage of air, while keeping out rain and snow, leaves and animals.
The Stevenson Screen is one of a very few designs that is recommended by the World Meteorological Organization for use in every region of the world, and Stevenson Screens are also erected for use in field studies on plants or animals where temperature is part of the data collected. This widely adopted data collection device was invented in 1864 by Thomas Stevenson.
Thomas Stevenson was an engineer from a family of lighthouse builders. Born in 1818, his father was Robert Stevenson who built lighthouses and evidently encouraged all three sons to carry on his practice of saving ships, cargos and lives by erecting beacons to mark dangerous rocks. From his work on lighthouses, harbours and rivers, Stevenson developed a healthy respect for storms and an abiding interest in weather. He was the father of Robert Louis Stevenson who, in an article titled Thomas Stevenson – Civil Engineer, wrote: “Storms were his sworn adversaries, and it was through the study of storms that he approached that of meteorology at large. Many who knew him not otherwise, knew – perhaps have in their gardens – his louvre-boarded screen for instruments.” His interest in Meteorology led to Thomas Stevenson being one of the founders of the Scottish Meteorological Society.
The Wide Usage of the Stevenson Screen
In the British Medical Journal of May 15, 1886 the Stevenson Screen is mentioned in connection with a case of pneumonia in a region so cold that the medicine froze in the room and had to be kept under the patient’s pillow. The author of the article, Dr Wise, mentions that the outside temperature was measured within a Stevenson Screen. The screen is used in conditions varying from Saharan to Arctic, with some adaptations of size and height. Data collected in the screens is now transmitted electronically in most cases but the overall design is still the same as when Thomas Stevenson devised it in 1864.
Stevenson, Robert Louis, Thomas Stevenson – Civil Engineer, Memories and Portraits, 1887
Wise, A, Tucker, A Case of Pneumonia, Occurring at a Cold High Altitude, The British Medical Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1324, May 15, 1886.
Stevenson Screen: Environment Canada,http://www.on.ec.gc.ca/skywatchers/ontario/wx_office_tour/compound/screen_e.html