Data from: Flight paths of seabirds soaring over the ocean surface enable measurement of fine-scale wind speed and direction
Yonehara, Yoshinari et al. (2017), Data from: Flight paths of seabirds soaring over the ocean surface enable measurement of fine-scale wind speed and direction, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3pb86
Monitoring ocean surface winds is essential for understanding ocean and atmosphere interactions and weather forecasts. However, wind measured by satellite scatterometers and buoys are spatially and temporally coarse, particularly in coastal areas. We deployed small global positioning system units on soaring seabirds to record their tracks. Seabirds were accelerated by tail winds or slowed down by head winds during flight, so their flight speed changed in relation to wind speed and direction. Taking advantage of these changes in flight speed, we reliably estimated wind speed and direction experienced by the seabirds. The wind observed by soaring seabird’s tracks complemented the conventional observation gaps in terms of both time and space, suggesting the possibility of using soaring seabirds as a living anemometer.