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How to Read a Compass for Wind Direction

Updated April 17, 2017

A compass is an instrument used to determine location and direction in relation to the earth's magnetic poles. A compass can be used for a variety of purposes, including taking a bearing, finding a bearing, or triangulating, but it can also be used to determine wind direction. Wind direction is the direction from which the wind is blowing, rather than the direction in which it is blowing. Thus, a southerly wind blows from south to north.

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  1. Determine which direction the wind is coming from and then turn your back to it.

  2. Hold your palm out and level at your waist and place the compass in your palm, face up. The bubble in the compass will let you know if it is level.

  3. Without rotating your body, turn the compass on your palm until the red arrow matches up with the north arrow on the base of the compass.

  4. When the red arrow lines up with the north arrow, stop turning the compass. The number or letter closest to your navel is the wind direction, or the direction from which the wind is blowing.

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