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Wind speed variability over the Canary Islands, 1948–2014: focusing on trend differences at the land–ocean interface and below–above the trade-wind inversion layer

Journal article
Authors Cesar Azorin-Molina
Melisa Menendez
Tim R. McVicar
Adrian Acevedo
Sergio M. Vicente-Serrano
Emilio Cuevas
Lorenzo Minola
Deliang Chen
Published in Climate Dynamics
Volume 50
Issue 11-12
Pages 4061–4081
ISSN 0930-7575
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 4061–4081
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-017-...
Keywords Atmospheric circulation, Canary Islands, Inversion-layer, Land–ocean, Trade-winds, Trends, Wind speed
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences

Abstract

This study simultaneously examines wind speed trends at the land–ocean interface, and below–above the trade-wind inversion layer in the Canary Islands and the surrounding Eastern North Atlantic Ocean: a key region for quantifying the variability of trade-winds and its response to large-scale atmospheric circulation changes. Two homogenized data sources are used: (1) observed wind speed from nine land-based stations (1981–2014), including one mountain weather station (Izaña) located above the trade-wind inversion layer; and (2) simulated wind speed from two atmospheric hindcasts over ocean (i.e., SeaWind I at 30 km for 1948–2014; and SeaWind II at 15 km for 1989–2014). The results revealed a widespread significant negative trend of trade-winds over ocean for 1948–2014, whereas no significant trends were detected for 1989–2014. For this recent period wind speed over land and ocean displayed the same multi-decadal variability and a distinct seasonal trend pattern with a strengthening (late spring and summer; significant in May and August) and weakening (winter–spring–autumn; significant in April and September) of trade-winds. Above the inversion layer at Izaña, we found a predominance of significant positive trends, indicating a decoupled variability and opposite wind speed trends when compared to those reported in boundary layer. The analysis of the Trade Wind Index (TWI), the North Atlantic Oscillation Index (NAOI) and the Eastern Atlantic Index (EAI) demonstrated significant correlations with the wind speed variability, revealing that the correlation patterns of the three indices showed a spatio-temporal complementarity in shaping wind speed trends across the Eastern North Atlantic.

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