This article deals with the atmospheric ice accumulation on wind turbine blades and its effect on the aerodynamic performance and structural response. The role of eight atmospheric and system parameters on the ice accretion profiles was estimated using the 2D ice accumulation software lewice Twenty-four hours of icing, with time varying wind speed and atmospheric icing conditions, was simulated on a rotor. Computational fluid dynamics code, FLUENT, was used to estimate the aerodynamic coefficients of the blade after icing. The results were also validated against wind tunnel measurements performed at LM Wind Power using a NACA64618 airfoil. The effects of changes in geometry and surface roughness are considered in the simulation. A blade element momentum code WT-Perf is then used to quantify the degradation in performance curves. The dynamic responses of the wind turbine under normal and iced conditions were simulated with the wind turbine aeroelastic code HAWC2. The results show different behaviors below and above rated wind speeds. In below rated wind speed, for a 5 MW virtual NREL wind turbine, power loss up to 35% is observed, and the rated power is shifted from wind speed of 11 to 19 m s−1. However, the thrust of the iced rotor in below rated wind speed is smaller than the clean rotor up to 14%, but after rated wind speed, it is up to 40% bigger than the clean rotor. Finally, it is briefly indicated how the results of this paper can be used for condition monitoring and ice detection. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.