What is a Wind Rose?

A Wind Rose is a method of displaying wind patterns that occurred over a period of time (i.e., hour, day, week, year, decade, etc.). During a typical day, wind direction and speed will fluctuate because of variations in atmospheric pressure and heating and cooling of the earth’s surface.

Dozens of weather stations around the twin cities metropolitan area, including at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), document wind measurements continuously. Those data may be displayed as a Wind Rose to graphically represent wind direction and speed.

Each Wind Rose is a circle that displays directional headings consistent with a compass. The top of the circle represents north and the bottom is south; east is the right side and west is the left side of the circle.

Bars or arrows, like spokes on a wheel, extend outward from the center of the circle and “point” to the compass heading representing the wind direction recorded during the selected time span.  The length of the bars or arrows will represent the amount of time the wind blew from that direction. The color-coding on the bars show the wind speed.

Click here to view the Wind Rose for MSP for November 1-17, 2015: MSP Wind Rose Data

Wind data collected at MSP are used in various Wind Rose applications. The Wind Rose tool provided by the Iowa State University of Science and Technology[1] is used by MAC Noise Program Office staff for analysis and reporting purposes; however, the list below includes other Wind Rose options for reference:

Natural Resources Conservation Service:


Western Regional Climate Center:


Updated 3/14/2016

[1] http://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/sites/dyn_windrose.phtml?station=MSP&ne...