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Trends of daily peak wind gusts in Spain and Portugal, 1961-2014

Journal article
Authors C. Azorin-Molina
J. A. Guijarro
T. R. McVicar
S. M. Vicente-Serrano
Deliang Chen
S. Jerez
F. Espirito-Santo
Published in Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres
Volume 121
Issue 3
Pages 1059-1078
ISSN 2169-897X
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 1059-1078
Language en
Keywords long-term trends, daily peak wind gusts, atmospheric circulation, Spain and Portugal, field significance, speed trends, europe, homogenization, maximum, storms, netherlands, iceland, period, nao, Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


Given the inconsistencies of wind gust trends under the widespread decline in near-surface wind speed (stilling), our study aimed to assess trends of observed daily peak wind gusts (DPWG) across Spain and Portugal for 1961-2014 by analyzing trends of (i) the frequency (90th percentile) and (ii) the magnitude (wind speed maxima) of DPWG. Wind gust series were homogenized on a daily basis, using MM5-simulated series as reference, resulting in 80 suitable station-based data sets. The average DPWG 90th percentile frequency declined by -1.49ddecade(-1) (p<0.05) annually. This showed marked seasonal differences: decreasing in winter (-0.75ddecade(-1); p<0.05) and increasing in summer (+0.18ddecade(-1); p>0.10). A negligible trend was calculated for the annual magnitude of DPWG (-0.005ms(-1) decade(-1); p>0.10), with distinct seasonality: declining in winter (-0.168ms(-1) decade(-1); p<0.10) and increasing in summer (+0.130ms(-1) decade(-1); p<0.05). Combined, these results reveal less frequent and declining DPWG during the cold semester (November-April) and more frequent and increasing DPWG during the warm semester (May-October). Large-scale atmospheric changes such as the North Atlantic Oscillation Index (negative correlations similar to-0.4--0.6; p<0.05) and the Jenkinson and Collison scheme (positive correlations mainly with Westerly regime: similar to+0.5-0.6; p<0.05) partly account for the decadal fluctuations of both frequency and magnitude of DPWG, particularly in winter. However, the North Atlantic Oscillation index-DPWG relationships are smaller in spring, summer, and autumn (similar to-0.1--0.2; p>0.10), especially for the frequency, suggesting the role of local-to-mesoscale drivers.

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