Information Resources and Technology Management

Data Element: WIND SPEED

You are invited to read the definitions of terms used in this data standard.

Name Wind Speed
Description The Beaufort Wind Force Scale, a scale of wind velocity or force ranging from 0 (calm) to 12 (hurricane) and used to represent wind speeds for use on land.
Type Integer
Syntax N or NN, where N represents a scale of 0 through 9, and NN represents a scale from 10 through 12; the full range of wind codes is 0-12.

NOTE:  Leading zeros are not required for wind codes 0 through 9.

Recommended Field Name WINDSPEED
Values The official values to be used for this data element are provided in the Source.
Source Access the following link to the Beaufort Wind Force Scale, a system developed by Sir Francis Beaufort in 1805 based on observations of the effects of the wind. This rating system was developed for sailors but has since been modified for use on land.
Historical Data For information on past versions of this standard, contact the Chief Data Officer

Part 270, FW 6, Data Management and Standards, has been superceded by Part 274, FW 2, Establishing Service Data Standards.

Beaufort Scale - Wikipedia site with history of the Beaufort scale.

North American Breeding Bird Survey, Weather Codes: Beaufort Wind Codes.

California Department of Fish and Game, BIOS Standards - Data Dictionary Reference Tables: Beaufort classification scale of wind speed.

Federal Meteorological Handbook No. 1, Surface Weather Observations and Reports, September 2005: Chapter 5, Table 5-1, Estimating Wind Speed, includes specifications and wind velocity (knots) that are representative of the Beaufort scale. NOTE: the instructions in Chapter 12 for coding wind speed (in whole knots) do not apply to this data element standard.

Use Instructions As of the approval date and whenever applicable, this data element will be used in any new automated system, data set, database, or information application, including new Geographic Information System (GIS) data and applications. This data element will also be used in any major modifications to existing systems or versions of these data-related items that use a wind scale to estimate and record wind speeds on land.

Service staff are strongly encouraged to utilize this data element in existing systems, data sets, databases, and information applications when appropriate. Where existing systems and data-related items are not in compliance, they should be modified to achieve compatibility and implement this data standard.

Phase Adopted
Approval Date July 19, 2007
Validation Date February 14, 2011
Data Steward Todd Sutherland, Information Technology Specialist, Biological Monitoring and Database Team, National Wildlife Refuge System, Region 3.


Last updated: May 9, 2019