Global winds reverse decades of slowing and pick up speed

Posted: November 19, 2019 by oldbrew in atmosphere, Natural Variation, research, wind
Tags:


Could this point to an increasing difference between polar and equatorial average temperatures? Researchers cite ‘ocean-atmosphere oscillations’.

In a boon to wind farms, average daily wind speeds are picking up across much of the globe after about 30 years of gradual slowing, reports Phys.org.

Research led by a team at Princeton University shows that wind speeds in northern mid-latitude regions have increased by roughly 7% since 2010.

The findings mark a reversal of the pattern of declining winds in these regions since the 1980s—a phenomenon known as global terrestrial stilling.

Focusing on regions of North America, Europe and Asia where wind power is on the rise, the researchers analyzed wind speed records collected between 1978 and 2017 from more than 1,400 weather stations.

In a paper published Nov. 18 in Nature Climate Change, they showed that while wind speeds decreased by about 2.3% per decade beginning in 1978, since 2010 wind speeds have increased at a rate that is nearly three times faster.

The research, which looked only at regional averages, did not examine how the uptick in wind speeds might affect the severity of storms, which also has been increasing.

The team examined the potential causes underlying global terrestrial stilling and its reversal.

While changes in urbanization and vegetation have been proposed as contributors to global terrestrial stilling, these trends have not reversed since 2010, said Zhenzhong Zeng, who led the study as a postdoctoral researcher working with Eric Wood, Princeton’s Susan Dod Brown Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Emeritus.

Zeng and his colleagues used statistical methods to test associations between variations in wind speed and an array of well-characterized ocean-atmosphere oscillations.

Ocean-atmosphere oscillations, which alter distributions of heat and pressure, had long been understood to drive ocean wind speeds, and this study demonstrated the global relationship between the oscillations and land-based wind speeds.

The analysis showed that in each region of the globe, specific large-scale ocean-atmosphere oscillations, which are driven by many factors including the uneven heating of the earth’s surface in different regions, were likely explanations for the observed trends in wind speeds.

Full article here.

Comments
  1. oldbrew says:

    The findings mark a reversal of the pattern of declining winds in these regions since the 1980s—a phenomenon known as global terrestrial stilling.

    Or possibly ‘climate change’?
    – – –
    While changes in urbanization and vegetation have been proposed as contributors to global terrestrial stilling, these trends have not reversed since 2010

    So those claims are duds.

  2. ivan says:

    Oh dear, they are going to need to shut down the windmills sooner if the is too much wind or the machines will tear themselves to pieces – just don’t be near one when that happens.

  3. spetzer86 says:

    And maybe, like so many other phenomenon, the winds sort of follow a cyclic pattern(s) of unknown period(s)?

  4. tom0mason says:

    Don’tcha just love nature and it’s ability to show us bipeds that there are many ways that it will distribute/dissipate energy over the globe.

    Nature is chaotic, and that chaos does not necessarily require equilibrium at any instant. Nature, with so many loosely coupled elements and feedback systems, tries to equalize until the next confounding factors arrive, upsetting the current equalizing forcings, and moves it on to a new trajectory.

  5. Curious George says:

    These results depend heavily on methodology. It is a wind speed “hockey stick”.

  6. oldbrew says:

    while wind speeds decreased by about 2.3% per decade beginning in 1978, since 2010 wind speeds have increased at a rate that is nearly three times faster.

    Some kind of warming/cooling oscillation?
    – – –
    See ‘Data Availability’ here…
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0622-6

  7. Nelson says:

    My guess is that wind reflects the AMO cycle. The time frames fit and the warm phase that is ending likely increased the temperature gradiant between the tropics and the artic.

  8. oldbrew says:

    The article’s headline is a bit misleading. It says ‘global winds…’ but from the report:

    ‘Focusing on regions of North America, Europe and Asia where wind power is on the rise, the researchers analyzed wind speed records collected between 1978 and 2017 from more than 1,400 weather stations.’

  9. It doesn't add up... says:

    The data for quantifying wind speed changes are the Global Surface Summary of the Day database (GSOD, ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/gsod) and the HadISD (v.2.0.2.2017f) global subdaily database (https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadisd/). The time series of climate indices describing monthly atmospheric and oceanic phenomena are obtained from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/climateindices/list/). Simulated wind speed changes in Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) are available in the for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (https://esgf-node.llnl.gov/projects/cmip5/). Simulated wind speed changes constrained by historical sea surface temperature are provided by the IPSL Dynamic Meteorology Laboratory. Wind records in reanalysis products include the ECMWF ERA-Interim Product (apps.ecmwf.int/datasets/data/interim-full-daily/), the ECMWF ERA5 Product (https://cds.climate.copernicus.eu/cdsapp#!/dataset/reanalysis-era5-single-levels-monthly-means) and the NCEP/NCAR Global Reanalysis Product (http://rda.ucar.edu/datasets/ds090.0/). The processed wind records and the relevant code are available in Supplementary Data 1 and 2 (https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.9917246.v2). All datasets are also available upon request from Z. Zeng.

    So it’s models all the way down? The data I have from Staffell & Pfenniger covering most of Europe by country from 1980 to 2016, based on reanalysis calibrated by actual wind farm outputs, suggests that there has been a modest decline in wind speeds across Europe since 2000. Also models of course, taking the average capacity factor on a 10 year moving average basis from a peak of 27.5% to about 26.2% – a decline of about 5% in output.

  10. oldbrew says:

    Are we at the beginning of Solar Cycle 25?
    Sunday, 11 November 2018

    When the new solar cycle begins, the polarity strength of each hemisphere maxes, and then begins to decrease as the two hemispheres start to blend together.

    The northern hemisphere appears to already have peaked and is decreasing, while the southern looks like it’s just beginning to drop.

    Also helps explain why the new sunspot was in the northern hemisphere.

    The average magnetic field strength peaked a bit higher than the beginning of last cycle’s, so hopefully this means a more active maximum. Though the amount of data we have compared to our star’s lifespan is basically zero, so it’s hard to tell.

    https://www.spaceweatherlive.com/en/news/view/364/20181111-are-we-at-the-beginning-of-solar-cycle-25

  11. ren says:

    The polar vortex forecast in the central stratosphere is unusual. Such weakening of the polar vortex at the beginning of winter has not been recorded in recent years.
    https://earth.nullschool.net/?fbclid=IwAR2MPQfVRpyONG_GremHGS0pfMnpgsuF6X50n8lx5mXFYxs9RbdJASJHT7I#2019/11/26/0000Z/wind/isobaric/10hPa/orthographic=-351.45,86.78,340

  12. ren says:

    If we reverse the galactic radiation graph, we can see how much solar activity has decreased since the 90s.

  13. oldbrew says:

    An obvious S shape in this capture from ren’s link (November 21, 2019 at 8:37 pm).

  14. ren says:

    Oldbrew, this pattern still strengthen to the end of November.

  15. ren says:

    Be sure to look at the polar vortex forecast in the lower stratosphere. A frosty high will build over northern Europe.
    https://earth.nullschool.net/#2019/11/26/2100Z/wind/isobaric/70hPa/orthographic=-344.59,68.87,448

  16. Ian Wilson says:

    World-wide wind speeds have slowed down over the last few decades ——- I wonder why?

    https://astroclimateconnection.blogspot.com/2017/10/world-wind-speeds-have-slowed-down-over.html

  17. oldbrew says:

    The southern hemisphere season for noctilucent clouds began on Nov. 15th–the earliest start in recorded history.

    https://spaceweather.com/archive.php [Nov. 21, 2019]

    Sunspot number: 0
    Updated 21 Nov 2019

    Spotless Days
    Current Stretch: 8 days
    2019 total: 244 days (75%)

  18. ren says:

    The scandinavian high connects with the russian high.

  19. ren says:

    Polar vortex caused the separation of the jet stream over the Atlantic. One branch stretches all the way to Greenland and creates highlands highs in northern Europe, the other stretches to Spain and further to the Mediterranean. By the way, it will create a loop near the Apennine Peninsula, which will cause catastrophic downpours in Italy.

  20. ren says:

    Sorry: “creates highs in northern Europe”

  21. phil salmon says:

    Wind strength increasing after a period BJU of decline indicates a switch from warming to cooling NH climate.
    Remember all climate is a heat engine moving heat from equator to poles.
    Temperature difference between equator and the poles drives winds as well as ocean circulation.
    As climate warms (more so at the poles than the equator) the energy difference between equator and poles gets less, so there is less wind energy.
    And when it cools, vice verse.

    Note that the meridional Atlantic Ocean circulation system, the AMOC, is also declining. Something analogous is probably happening in the Pacific also.

  22. oldbrew says:

    ren says [November 23, 2019 at 8:25 am]:
    By the way, it will create a loop near the Apennine Peninsula, which will cause catastrophic downpours in Italy.
    – – –
    25-Nov-2019
    Viaduct collapses in Italy amid widespread floods

    https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-11-25/Viaduct-collapse-amid-widespread-floods-in-Italy-and-France-LTWYmFZYOc/index.html
    = = =
    Indian Farmers Rejoice as Best Monsoon in 25 Years Vanquishes Climate Fears
    Date: 23/11/19 Vijay Jayaraj, The Patriot Post

    https://www.thegwpf.com/indian-farmers-rejoice-as-best-monsoon-in-25-years-vanquishes-climate-fears/

  23. oldbrew says:

    NOV 15, 2019
    A Historic Opening Day at ASM

    Appalachian Ski Mtn is open for the 2019-20 season on Friday, November 15. This is the earliest opening in over 25 years, and highlights the most snow coverage and open terrain in ASM history.

    Appalachian Ski Mtn. is skiing and riding on 8 of 12 slopes with a 30-40″ base and peak season conditions. [bold added]

    https://www.appskimtn.com/news/a-historic-opening-day-at-asm

    H/T Tony Heller
    https://realclimatescience.com/2019/11/heatwave-of-november-23-1931/

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