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A U.S. Wind Climatology: new tools to monitor wind trends across the contiguous United States

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Wednesday, 26 January 2011
A U.S. Wind Climatology: new tools to monitor wind trends across the contiguous United States
Jake Crouch, NOAA/NCDC, Asheville, NC; and T. W. R. Wallis and D. S. Arndt
Manuscript (304.3 kB)

The Climate Monitoring Branch of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center has developed a new monthly and seasonal product to provide a spatially continuous wind climatology for the contiguous U.S. using NCEP reanalysis data. Surface wind observations are sparse over specific regions of the country, and are subject to many local effects. By utilizing the sigma .995 level of the reanalysis data we can monitor wind conditions and trends of the lower troposphere across the entire U.S. The wind data are interpolated from a 2.5 x 2.5 degree grid to 0.25 degrees to provide additional detail. Data are analyzed from January 1950 to the most current month. Monthly averaged winds and wind anomalies are calculated with respect to the 1971-2000 base period, and time series for each grid point show how regional winds have changed over the 60 year period of record. The goal of this new climatology product is to provide regional decision support for the emerging wind energy sector, in addition to others who are interested in the current state of wind conditions. The U.S. Department of Energy has outlined a plan for 20 percent of U.S. electricity production to be from wind by 2030, and having a temporally and spatially continuous wind dataset, updated on a monthly basis, will be beneficial to understanding wind trends nationwide.