Climatology and trends of wind speed in the Beaufort/Chukchi Sea coastal region from 1979 to 2009

Authors

  • William J. Baule,

    Corresponding author
    1. High Plains Regional Climate Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NE, USA
    • Correspondence to: W. J. Baule, High Plains Regional Climate Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 704 Hardin Hall, Lincoln, NE 68583, USA. E-mail: wbaule2@unl.edu

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  • Martha D. Shulski

    1. High Plains Regional Climate Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NE, USA
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ABSTRACT

Climatic records of wind speed are analyzed for eight long-term monitoring locations in the Beaufort/Chukchi coastal region of the Arctic, over the period from 1979 to 2009. Data for this study originated from three national observing networks throughout the Beaufort/Chukchi region and were uniformly quality controlled using a combination of automated and manual checks. The climatology of wind speed was developed over the study period and includes analyses of mean wind speed, extremes, and frequency distributions. Trends in monthly and annual wind speed were examined. The climatology illustrates strong distinctions between coastal and interior locations, strong seasonal characteristics, and diurnal cycles in wind speed. Negative trends in wind speed were apparent at several locations, particularly at locations in Alaska. Many of these trends were statistically significant (95% CI). To assess the impact of artificial changes on trends, station data were homogenized with respect to metadata records. Trends were recalculated and the effects were discussed. Possible drivers of wind speed trends were also discussed, including multi-decadal climate signals. Results from the climatology and trend analyses were compared with output from the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR). Negative biases in wind speed were apparent at most locations throughout the year in NARR. Trends in NARR wind speed opposed in situ trends, at most locations. Improved knowledge of wind speed records and reanalysis output is important in this rapidly changing region.

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