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A Nonstationary Extreme Value Analysis for the Assessment of Changes in Extreme Annual Wind Speed over the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada

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  • 1 INRS-ETE, University of Quebec, Quebec, Quebec, Canada
  • | 2 Adaptation and Impacts Research Division, Atmospheric Science and Technology Directorate, Environment Canada, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Abstract

Changes in the extreme annual wind speed in and around the Gulf of St. Lawrence (Canada) were investigated through a nonstationary extreme value analysis of the annual maximum 10-m wind speed obtained from the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) dataset as well as observed data from selected stations of Environment Canada. A generalized extreme value distribution with time-dependent location and scale parameters was used to estimate quantiles of interest as functions of time at locations where significant trend was detected. A Bayesian method, the generalized maximum likelihood approach, is implemented to estimate the parameters. The analysis yielded shape parameters very close to 0, suggesting that the distribution can be modeled using the Gumbel distribution. A similar analysis using a nonstationary Gumbel model yielded similar quantiles with narrower credibility intervals. Overall, little change was detected over the period 1979–2004. Only 7% of the investigated grids exhibited trends at the 5% significant level, and the analysis performed on the reanalysis data at locations of significant trend indicated a rise in the median extreme annual wind speed by up to 2 m s−1 per decade in the southern coastal areas with a corresponding increase in the 90% and 99% quantiles of the extreme annual wind speeds by up to 5 m s−1 per decade. Also in the northern part of the gulf and some offshore areas in the south, the 50%, 90%, and 99% quantile values of the extreme annual wind speeds are noted to drop by up to 1.5, 3, and 5 m s−1, respectively. While the directions of the changes in the annual extremes at the selected stations are similar to those of the reanalysis data at nearby grid cells, the magnitudes and significance levels of the changes are generally inconsistent. Change at the same significance level over the same period of the NARR dataset was noted only at 2 stations out of 13.

Corresponding author address: Y. Hundecha, NSERC/Hydro-Quebec Statistical Hydrology Chair, Canada Research Chair on the Estimation of Hydrological Variables, INRS-ETE, University of Quebec, 490 de la Couronne, Quebec, QC G1K 9A9, Canada. Email: yeshewatesfa.hundecha@rub.de

Abstract

Changes in the extreme annual wind speed in and around the Gulf of St. Lawrence (Canada) were investigated through a nonstationary extreme value analysis of the annual maximum 10-m wind speed obtained from the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) dataset as well as observed data from selected stations of Environment Canada. A generalized extreme value distribution with time-dependent location and scale parameters was used to estimate quantiles of interest as functions of time at locations where significant trend was detected. A Bayesian method, the generalized maximum likelihood approach, is implemented to estimate the parameters. The analysis yielded shape parameters very close to 0, suggesting that the distribution can be modeled using the Gumbel distribution. A similar analysis using a nonstationary Gumbel model yielded similar quantiles with narrower credibility intervals. Overall, little change was detected over the period 1979–2004. Only 7% of the investigated grids exhibited trends at the 5% significant level, and the analysis performed on the reanalysis data at locations of significant trend indicated a rise in the median extreme annual wind speed by up to 2 m s−1 per decade in the southern coastal areas with a corresponding increase in the 90% and 99% quantiles of the extreme annual wind speeds by up to 5 m s−1 per decade. Also in the northern part of the gulf and some offshore areas in the south, the 50%, 90%, and 99% quantile values of the extreme annual wind speeds are noted to drop by up to 1.5, 3, and 5 m s−1, respectively. While the directions of the changes in the annual extremes at the selected stations are similar to those of the reanalysis data at nearby grid cells, the magnitudes and significance levels of the changes are generally inconsistent. Change at the same significance level over the same period of the NARR dataset was noted only at 2 stations out of 13.

Corresponding author address: Y. Hundecha, NSERC/Hydro-Quebec Statistical Hydrology Chair, Canada Research Chair on the Estimation of Hydrological Variables, INRS-ETE, University of Quebec, 490 de la Couronne, Quebec, QC G1K 9A9, Canada. Email: yeshewatesfa.hundecha@rub.de

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