Virtual Cabinet of Curiosities

6. Anemometer, Dr Matthew Baddock and Prof. Jo Bullard

Ten percent of Earth’s surface is covered in sand dunes, 550 million hectares are affected by human-induced wind erosion and an estimated 2000 million tonnes of dust is blown into our atmosphere every year. A fundamental control on where, when and how much wind-blown sediment transport occurs is the shearing force that wind exerts on the land surface. This device, an anemometer, measures wind speed. By making multiple measurements of wind speed at different heights it is possible to calculate the shearing force of the wind. Making such detailed measurements in environments where wind shapes the landscape is a key way that Loughborough geographers investigate blowing sand and dust processes. Our research has improved understanding of the critical role played by wind-blown sediment throughout the Earth system and the hazard it poses to human activities.

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