Emily - 1 year ago 160
R Question

# How to calculate wind direction from U and V wind components in R

I have U and V wind component data and I would like to calculate wind direction from these values in R.

I would like to end up with wind direction data on a scale of 0-360 degrees, with 0° or 360° indicating a wind blowing to the north, 90° indicating a wind blowing to the east, 180° indicating a wind blowing to the south and 270° indicating a wind blowing to the west.

Below is some example data:

``````> dput(wind)
structure(list(u_ms = c(-3.711, -2.2417, -1.8188, -1.6164, -1.3941,
-1.0682, -0.57611, -1.5698, -1.4976, -1.3537, -1.0901, -0.60403,
-0.70812, -0.49045, -0.39849, 0.17875, 0.48356, 1.5082, 1.4219,
2.5881), v_ms = c(-1.471, -1.6118, -1.6613, -1.7037, -1.7388,
-1.8748, -1.8359, -1.6766, -1.6994, -1.7505, -1.4947, -0.96283,
-1.1194, -0.6849, -0.7847, -0.80349, -0.19352, -0.97815, -1.0835,
-0.81666), u_rad = c(-0.064769155, -0.039125038, -0.031744042,
-0.028211496, -0.02433163, -0.018643603, -0.010055014, -0.027398173,
-0.026138045, -0.023626517, -0.01902583, -0.01054231, -0.012359023,
-0.008559966, -0.006954961, 0.003119775, 0.008439712, 0.02632305,
0.024816831, 0.045170857), v_rad = c(-0.025673788, -0.028131211,
-0.028995149, -0.029735168, -0.030347779, -0.032721426, -0.032042493,
-0.029262184, -0.029660119, -0.030551982, -0.026087431, -0.01680455,
-0.019537212, -0.011953758, -0.013695596, -0.014023543, -0.00337756,
-0.017071935, -0.018910639, -0.014253403)), .Names = c("u_ms",
-20L))
``````

I have used the following code to try and obtain wind direction (column
`td`
), but I am not convinced that the returned angles are those that I want (i.e. 0°/360° indicating a wind blowing to the north, 90° indicating a wind blowing to the east etc…).

``````u = wind\$u_rad # u component in radians

d = (180/pi)*(atan2(u,v))
td = as.matrix(d + 180)
df = cbind(wind, d, td)

> df
1  -3.71100 -1.47100 -0.064769155 -0.02567379 -111.6228  68.37716
2  -2.24170 -1.61180 -0.039125038 -0.02813121 -125.7164  54.28357
3  -1.81880 -1.66130 -0.031744042 -0.02899515 -132.4087  47.59129
4  -1.61640 -1.70370 -0.028211496 -0.02973517 -136.5062  43.49379
5  -1.39410 -1.73880 -0.024331630 -0.03034778 -141.2788  38.72124
6  -1.06820 -1.87480 -0.018643603 -0.03272143 -150.3269  29.67308
7  -0.57611 -1.83590 -0.010055014 -0.03204249 -162.5780  17.42199
8  -1.56980 -1.67660 -0.027398173 -0.02926218 -136.8842  43.11576
9  -1.49760 -1.69940 -0.026138045 -0.02966012 -138.6118  41.38819
10 -1.35370 -1.75050 -0.023626517 -0.03055198 -142.2844  37.71557
11 -1.09010 -1.49470 -0.019025830 -0.02608743 -143.8963  36.10365
12 -0.60403 -0.96283 -0.010542310 -0.01680455 -147.8980  32.10204
13 -0.70812 -1.11940 -0.012359023 -0.01953721 -147.6830  32.31699
14 -0.49045 -0.68490 -0.008559966 -0.01195376 -144.3939  35.60607
15 -0.39849 -0.78470 -0.006954961 -0.01369560 -153.0774  26.92258
16  0.17875 -0.80349  0.003119775 -0.01402354  167.4578 347.45783
17  0.48356 -0.19352  0.008439712 -0.00337756  111.8112 291.81121
18  1.50820 -0.97815  0.026323050 -0.01707193  122.9656 302.96561
19  1.42190 -1.08350  0.024816831 -0.01891064  127.3077 307.30771
20  2.58810 -0.81666  0.045170857 -0.01425340  107.5128 287.51279
``````

I would appreciate any advice on whether my method is correct, and if not how I could correctly obtain the desired wind direction values. While Calculating wind direction from U and V components of the wind using lapply or ifelse was helpful, the code did work with my data, and I am sure that there is an easier away to obtain wind direction. Many thanks!

There are three problems with this:

1. You cannot convert m/s to radians. In order to input wind components into `atan2`, you must normalize them, but you don't do this by multiplying m/s by `pi/180` (which you did to get `u_rad` and `v_rad`). You should make a column of absolute windspeed (`sqrt(u_ms^2 + v_ms^2)`) and take `atan2(u_ms/wind_abs, v_ms/wind_abs)`. (also note that atan2 takes y component first - make sure that's what you want)
2. `atan2` will give you an answer in the unit circle coordinates, which increase counterclockwise and have a zero on the x-axis. You want an answer in cardinal coordinates which increase clockwise and have a zero on the y-axis. To convert unit circle to cardinal coordinates, you must subtract the unit circle angle from 90.
3. You must know whether the wind info refers to the direction the wind is coming from (standard for cardinal coordinates) or the direction the wind is blowing (standard for trig/vector operations)

If you are given `u_ms = = -3.711` and `v_ms = -1.471` (on the unit circle it is blowing down and slightly to the left, so it is coming from the northeast), then:

``````wind_abs = sqrt(u_ms^2 + v_ms^2)
wind_dir_trig_to = atan2(u_ms/wind_abs, v_ms/wind_abs)
wind_dir_trig_to_degrees = wind_dir_trig_to * 180/pi ## -111.6 degrees
``````

Then you must convert this wind vector to the meteorological convention of the direction the wind is coming from:

``````wind_dir_trig_from_degrees = wind_dir_trig_to_degrees + 180 ## 68.38 degrees
``````

Then you must convert that angle from "trig" coordinates to cardinal coordinates:

``````wind_dir_cardinal = 90 - wind_dir_trig_from_degrees
[1] 21.62284 #From the northeast.
``````
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