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Possible Impacts of Climate Change on Wind Gusts under Downscaled Future Climate Conditions: Updated for Canada

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  • 1 Science Section, Operations—Ontario, Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • | 2 Atmospheric Science and Technology Directorate, Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, Dorval, Quebec, Canada
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Abstract

The methods used in earlier research focusing on the province of Ontario, Canada, were adapted for the current paper to expand the study area over the entire nation of Canada where various industries (e.g., transportation, agriculture, energy, and commerce) and infrastructure are at risk of being impacted by extreme wind gust events. The possible impacts of climate change on future wind gust events across Canada were assessed using a three-step process: 1) development and validation of hourly and daily wind gust simulation models, 2) statistical downscaling to derive future station-scale hourly wind speed data, and 3) projection of changes in the frequency of future wind gust events. The wind gust simulation models could capture the historically observed daily and hourly wind gust events. For example, the percentage of excellent and good validations for hourly wind gust events ≥90 km h−1 ranges from 62% to 85% across Canada; the corresponding percentage for wind gust events ≥40 km h−1 is about 90%. For future projection, the modeled results indicated that the frequencies of the wind gust events could increase late this century over Canada using the ensemble of the downscaled eight-GCM simulations [Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A2 and B1]. For example, the percentage increases in future daily wind gust events ≥70 km h−1 from the current condition could be 10%–20% in most of the regions across Canada; the corresponding increases in future hourly wind gust events ≥70 km h−1 are projected to be 20%–30%. In addition, the inter-GCM and interscenario uncertainties of future wind gust projections were quantitatively assessed.

Denotes Open Access content.

Corresponding author address: Chad Shouquan Cheng, Science Section, Operations—Ontario, Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment Canada, 4905 Dufferin Street, Toronto, ON M3H 5T4, Canada. E-mail: shouquan.cheng@ec.gc.ca

Abstract

The methods used in earlier research focusing on the province of Ontario, Canada, were adapted for the current paper to expand the study area over the entire nation of Canada where various industries (e.g., transportation, agriculture, energy, and commerce) and infrastructure are at risk of being impacted by extreme wind gust events. The possible impacts of climate change on future wind gust events across Canada were assessed using a three-step process: 1) development and validation of hourly and daily wind gust simulation models, 2) statistical downscaling to derive future station-scale hourly wind speed data, and 3) projection of changes in the frequency of future wind gust events. The wind gust simulation models could capture the historically observed daily and hourly wind gust events. For example, the percentage of excellent and good validations for hourly wind gust events ≥90 km h−1 ranges from 62% to 85% across Canada; the corresponding percentage for wind gust events ≥40 km h−1 is about 90%. For future projection, the modeled results indicated that the frequencies of the wind gust events could increase late this century over Canada using the ensemble of the downscaled eight-GCM simulations [Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A2 and B1]. For example, the percentage increases in future daily wind gust events ≥70 km h−1 from the current condition could be 10%–20% in most of the regions across Canada; the corresponding increases in future hourly wind gust events ≥70 km h−1 are projected to be 20%–30%. In addition, the inter-GCM and interscenario uncertainties of future wind gust projections were quantitatively assessed.

Denotes Open Access content.

Corresponding author address: Chad Shouquan Cheng, Science Section, Operations—Ontario, Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment Canada, 4905 Dufferin Street, Toronto, ON M3H 5T4, Canada. E-mail: shouquan.cheng@ec.gc.ca
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