At What Time of Day Do Daily Extreme Near-Surface Wind Speeds Occur?

Robert Fajber School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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Adam H. Monahan School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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William J. Merryfield Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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Abstract

The timing of daily extreme wind speeds from 10 to 200 m is considered using 11 yr of 10-min averaged data from the 213-m tower at Cabauw, the Netherlands. This analysis is complicated by the tendency of autocorrelated time series to take their extreme values near the beginning or end of a fixed window in time, even when the series is stationary. It is demonstrated that a simple averaging procedure using different base times to define the day effectively suppresses this “edge effect” and enhances the intrinsic nonstationarity associated with diurnal variations in boundary layer processes. It is found that daily extreme wind speeds at 10 m are most likely in the early afternoon, whereas those at 200 m are most likely in between midnight and sunrise. An analysis of the joint distribution of the timing of extremes at these two altitudes indicates the presence of two regimes: one in which the timing is synchronized between these two layers, and the other in which the occurrence of extremes is asynchronous. These results are interpreted physically using an idealized mechanistic model of the surface layer momentum budget.

Corresponding author address: Adam Monahan, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, P.O. Box 3065 STN CSC, Victoria, BC V8W 3V6, Canada. E-mail: monahana@uvic.ca

Abstract

The timing of daily extreme wind speeds from 10 to 200 m is considered using 11 yr of 10-min averaged data from the 213-m tower at Cabauw, the Netherlands. This analysis is complicated by the tendency of autocorrelated time series to take their extreme values near the beginning or end of a fixed window in time, even when the series is stationary. It is demonstrated that a simple averaging procedure using different base times to define the day effectively suppresses this “edge effect” and enhances the intrinsic nonstationarity associated with diurnal variations in boundary layer processes. It is found that daily extreme wind speeds at 10 m are most likely in the early afternoon, whereas those at 200 m are most likely in between midnight and sunrise. An analysis of the joint distribution of the timing of extremes at these two altitudes indicates the presence of two regimes: one in which the timing is synchronized between these two layers, and the other in which the occurrence of extremes is asynchronous. These results are interpreted physically using an idealized mechanistic model of the surface layer momentum budget.

Corresponding author address: Adam Monahan, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, P.O. Box 3065 STN CSC, Victoria, BC V8W 3V6, Canada. E-mail: monahana@uvic.ca
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