Consider this one thing that wind engineering is for: to minimize and possibly prevent typhoon-induced damages.
Very relevant to us in the Philippines, right?
What with an average of 9 landfalling tropical cyclones per year, 5 being at least of typhoon-level strength, it is a puzzle why all civil/structural engineers are studying more and more about earthquake engineering (not that it's not important) but no one, except probably myself and a handful of others, are studying more and more about wind and typhoon engineering.
You might think, hey that's PAGASA's job, no? NO.
PAGASA, being mostly meteorologists, can only do part of the job. I know there are civil engineers in PAGASA, but these guys never studied wind engineering.
So, what is wind engineering?
The most common misconception I hear is that it is wind energy. Right. And wrong. In some European countries, wind engineering is another term indeed for work in the wind energy sector. But now, on the international stage, wind energy is recognized only as one small component of wind engineering.
Wind engineering, put simply, is a combination of:
- micro-meteorology (i.e. atmospheric boundary layer meteorology)
- bluff-body aerodynamics (i.e. we don't have airplane, space shuttle, or car-shaped buildings, and so on)
- civil engineering (i.e. stochastics, structural engineering, environmental engineering, and so on)
- implementation (i.e. construction, government, disaster risk reduction experts, owners, and so on)
So certainly, meteorologists and mechanical engineers alike have delved into #1 and #2, but wind engineering is being more and more recognized to be a sub-specialty of civil engineering. #1 is most important to those in wind energy, but #2 and #3 are also likewise important in the design of wind turbines. In the end, titles do not matter, it is what people do to help achieve the primary aims of wind engineering that help define who are wind engineers (and typhoon engineers) and who are not.
This interview of Malaya (newspaper) of an RWDI representative based in China, who has done plenty of work in the Philippines and around the world, gives us more concrete example applications of wind engineering. Read it at: http://archive.malaya.com.ph/2011/August/aug26/envi1.html.
RWDI is probably the top wind engineering firm in the world. Hopefully in the future we would not need to look to these foreign wind engineering experts to carry out wind engineering projects in the Philippines. Until then, I hope you enjoy learning a little bit more about wind engineering.