Reading Wind Barbs

Reading wind barbs are not complicated. The use of wind barbs show both wind direction and speed. Think of them as arrows in terms of direction, which each barb (pennant) at the tail representing speed. These speeds are as follows:

  • A full blacked pennant or triangle is 50 knots of speed
  • A full line on the wind barb is 10 knots of speed
  • A half line is 5 knots of speed

Of course, if you are viewing plots with wind speed units other than knots, the wind barbs have been adjusted automatically for you. An example below illustrates how to read the wind direction based on the angle of the barb. North is always up, just as a map is typically drawn.

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