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A Surface Wind Extremes (“Wind Lulls” and “Wind Blows”) Climatology for Central North America and Adjoining Oceans (1979–2012)

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  • 1 School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
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Abstract

This study explores long-term deviations from wind averages, specifically near the surface across central North America and adjoining oceans (25°–50°N, 60°–130°W) for 1979–2012 (408 months) by utilizing the North American Regional Reanalysis 10-m wind climate datasets. Regions where periods of anomalous wind speeds were observed (i.e., 1 standard deviation below/above both the long-term mean annual and mean monthly wind speeds at each grid point) were identified. These two climatic extremes were classified as wind lulls (WLs; below) or wind blows (WBs; above). Major findings for the North American study domain indicate that 1) mean annual wind speeds range from 1–3 m s−1 (Intermountain West) to over 7 m s−1 (offshore the East and West Coasts), 2) mean durations for WLs and WBs are high for much of the southeastern United States and for the open waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, respectively, 3) the longest WL/WB episodes for the majority of locations have historically not exceeded 5 months, 4) WLs and WBs are most common during June and October, respectively, for the upper Midwest, 5) WLs are least frequent over the southwestern United States during the North American monsoon, and 6) no significant anomalous wind trends exist over land or sea.

Corresponding author address: Jonny W. Malloy, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University, 975 South Myrtle Ave., Tempe, AZ 85287-5302. E-mail: jonny.malloy@asu.edu

Abstract

This study explores long-term deviations from wind averages, specifically near the surface across central North America and adjoining oceans (25°–50°N, 60°–130°W) for 1979–2012 (408 months) by utilizing the North American Regional Reanalysis 10-m wind climate datasets. Regions where periods of anomalous wind speeds were observed (i.e., 1 standard deviation below/above both the long-term mean annual and mean monthly wind speeds at each grid point) were identified. These two climatic extremes were classified as wind lulls (WLs; below) or wind blows (WBs; above). Major findings for the North American study domain indicate that 1) mean annual wind speeds range from 1–3 m s−1 (Intermountain West) to over 7 m s−1 (offshore the East and West Coasts), 2) mean durations for WLs and WBs are high for much of the southeastern United States and for the open waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, respectively, 3) the longest WL/WB episodes for the majority of locations have historically not exceeded 5 months, 4) WLs and WBs are most common during June and October, respectively, for the upper Midwest, 5) WLs are least frequent over the southwestern United States during the North American monsoon, and 6) no significant anomalous wind trends exist over land or sea.

Corresponding author address: Jonny W. Malloy, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University, 975 South Myrtle Ave., Tempe, AZ 85287-5302. E-mail: jonny.malloy@asu.edu
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