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As a car zooms by, scientists captured the sound with several microphones, including the one shown here, capped with a wind screen. By dissecting the sound signals, the team showed for the first time that ambient noise can be used to accurately measure wind speed. (CREDIT: Mikhail Charnotskii, ZelTech and NOAA)
As a car zooms by, scientists captured the sound with several microphones, including the one shown here, capped with a wind screen. By dissecting the sound signals, the team showed for the first time that ambient noise can be used to accurately measure wind speed. (CREDIT: Mikhail Charnotskii, ZelTech and NOAA)

Measuring Wind with Microphones

February 20, 2014

ESRL Physical Sciences Division researchers Oleg Godin (CIRES), and Vladimir Irisov and Mikhail Charnotskii (ZelTech) are coauthors of a recently published proof-of-concept study, which used the traffic noise along the Boulder–Longmont, CO "Diagonal Highway" to accurately measure wind speed. The technique used is called acoustic tomography, and it is similar to the use of sonar (sound navigation and ranging) to map underwater objects and measure temperatures below the ocean surface.

"We have demonstrated for the first time that we can use ambient noise to measure wind speeds," says lead author, Godin."

The method could be used to cheaply measure wind speed and direction in the atmosphere, critical information for weather forecasts, or even to study the rotation of Earth’s core.

This new study was published online in January:
Godin, O., V. Irisov, and M. Charnotskii (2014): Passive acoustic measurements of wind velocity and sound speed in air. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 135, EL68. doi:10.1121/1.4862885

Read the Full Story at CIRES

Contact

  • Oleg Godin, CIRES researcher at NOAA/ESRL Physical Sciences Division, 303-497-6558