A continuous decline of global seasonal wind speed range over land since 1980

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  • 1 1 School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, 518055, China
  • | 2 2 Centro de Investigaciones sobre Desertificación, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CIDE-CSIC), Moncada, Valencia, Spain
  • | 3 3 School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
  • | 4 4 National Engineering Laboratory for Lake Pollution Control and Ecological Restoration, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Science, Beijing, 100012, China
  • | 5 5 Faculty of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Mae Jo University, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
  • | 6 6 Department of Earth and Space Science, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China
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Abstract

To investigate changes in global wind speed phenomena, we constructed homogenized monthly time series (1980-2018) for 4,722 meteorological stations. Through examining monthly-averaged wind speeds (MWS), we found that seasonal wind speed range (SWSR; calculated as the difference between maximum and minimum MWS) has declined significantly by 10% since 1980 (p < 0.001). This global SWSR reduction was primarily influenced by decreases in Europe (-19%), South America (-16%), Australia (-14%), and Asia (-13%), with corresponding rate reductions of -0.13, -0.08, -0.09 and -0.06 m s-1 decade-1, respectively (p < 0.01). In contrast, the SWSR in North America rose 3%. Important is that the decrease in SWSR occurred regardless of the stilling or reversal of annual wind speed. The shrinking SWSR in Australia and South America was characterized by continuous decreases in maximum MWS and increases in the minimum. For Europe and Asia, maximum and minimum MWS declined initially after 1980, followed by substantial increases in minimum MWS (about 2000 and 2012, respectively) that preserved the long-term reduction in the range. Most reanalysis products (ERA5, ERA-Interim, and MERRA-2) and climate model simulations (AMIP6 and CMIP6) fail to reproduce the observed trends. However, some ocean-atmosphere indices (seasonality characteristics) were correlated significantly with these trends, including West Hemisphere warm pool, East Atlantic Patten, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and others. These findings are important for increasing the understanding of mechanisms behind wind speed variations that influence a multitude of other biogeophysical processes and the development of efficient wind energy generations, now and in the future.

correspondence: zzeng@princeton.edu

Abstract

To investigate changes in global wind speed phenomena, we constructed homogenized monthly time series (1980-2018) for 4,722 meteorological stations. Through examining monthly-averaged wind speeds (MWS), we found that seasonal wind speed range (SWSR; calculated as the difference between maximum and minimum MWS) has declined significantly by 10% since 1980 (p < 0.001). This global SWSR reduction was primarily influenced by decreases in Europe (-19%), South America (-16%), Australia (-14%), and Asia (-13%), with corresponding rate reductions of -0.13, -0.08, -0.09 and -0.06 m s-1 decade-1, respectively (p < 0.01). In contrast, the SWSR in North America rose 3%. Important is that the decrease in SWSR occurred regardless of the stilling or reversal of annual wind speed. The shrinking SWSR in Australia and South America was characterized by continuous decreases in maximum MWS and increases in the minimum. For Europe and Asia, maximum and minimum MWS declined initially after 1980, followed by substantial increases in minimum MWS (about 2000 and 2012, respectively) that preserved the long-term reduction in the range. Most reanalysis products (ERA5, ERA-Interim, and MERRA-2) and climate model simulations (AMIP6 and CMIP6) fail to reproduce the observed trends. However, some ocean-atmosphere indices (seasonality characteristics) were correlated significantly with these trends, including West Hemisphere warm pool, East Atlantic Patten, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and others. These findings are important for increasing the understanding of mechanisms behind wind speed variations that influence a multitude of other biogeophysical processes and the development of efficient wind energy generations, now and in the future.

correspondence: zzeng@princeton.edu
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