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Homogenization and Trend Analysis of Canadian Near-Surface Wind Speeds

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  • 1 Climate Research Division, Atmospheric Science and Technology Directorate, Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Abstract

Near-surface wind speeds recorded at 117 stations in Canada for the period from 1953 to 2006 were analyzed in this study. First, metadata and a logarithmic wind profile were used to adjust hourly wind speeds measured at nonstandard anemometer heights to the standard 10-m level. Monthly mean near-surface wind speed series were then derived and subjected to a statistical homogeneity test, with homogeneous monthly mean geostrophic wind (geowind) speed series being used as reference series. Homogenized monthly mean near-surface wind speed series were obtained by adjusting all significant mean shifts, using the results of the statistical test and modeling along with all available metadata, and were used to assess the long-term trends.

This study shows that station relocation and anemometer height change are the main causes for discontinuities in the near-surface wind speed series, followed by instrumentation problems or changes, and observing environment changes. It also shows that the effects of artificial mean shifts on the results of trend analysis are remarkable, and that the homogenized near-surface wind speed series show good spatial consistency of trends, which are in agreement with long-term trends estimated from independent datasets, such as surface winds in the United States and cyclone activity indices and ocean wave heights in the region. These indicate success in the homogenization of the wind data. During the period analyzed, the homogenized near-surface wind speed series show significant decreases throughout western Canada and most parts of southern Canada (except the Maritimes) in all seasons, with significant increases in the central Canadian Arctic in all seasons and in the Maritimes in spring and autumn.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Xiaolan L. Wang, Climate Research Division, Atmospheric Science and Technology Directorate, Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, Toronto ON M3H 5T4, Canada. Email: xiaolan.wang@ec.gc.ca

Abstract

Near-surface wind speeds recorded at 117 stations in Canada for the period from 1953 to 2006 were analyzed in this study. First, metadata and a logarithmic wind profile were used to adjust hourly wind speeds measured at nonstandard anemometer heights to the standard 10-m level. Monthly mean near-surface wind speed series were then derived and subjected to a statistical homogeneity test, with homogeneous monthly mean geostrophic wind (geowind) speed series being used as reference series. Homogenized monthly mean near-surface wind speed series were obtained by adjusting all significant mean shifts, using the results of the statistical test and modeling along with all available metadata, and were used to assess the long-term trends.

This study shows that station relocation and anemometer height change are the main causes for discontinuities in the near-surface wind speed series, followed by instrumentation problems or changes, and observing environment changes. It also shows that the effects of artificial mean shifts on the results of trend analysis are remarkable, and that the homogenized near-surface wind speed series show good spatial consistency of trends, which are in agreement with long-term trends estimated from independent datasets, such as surface winds in the United States and cyclone activity indices and ocean wave heights in the region. These indicate success in the homogenization of the wind data. During the period analyzed, the homogenized near-surface wind speed series show significant decreases throughout western Canada and most parts of southern Canada (except the Maritimes) in all seasons, with significant increases in the central Canadian Arctic in all seasons and in the Maritimes in spring and autumn.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Xiaolan L. Wang, Climate Research Division, Atmospheric Science and Technology Directorate, Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, Toronto ON M3H 5T4, Canada. Email: xiaolan.wang@ec.gc.ca

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