Homogenization and Assessment of Observed Near-Surface Wind Speed Trends over Spain and Portugal, 1961–2011*

Azorin-Molina C., Vicente-Serrano S. M., McVicar T. R., Jerez S., Sanchez-Lorenzo A., López-Moreno Juan-I., Revuelto J., Trigo R. M., Lopez-Bustins J. A., Espírito-Santo F.
Journal of climate, 27, 3692–3712, doi:

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Near-surface wind speed trends recorded at 67 land-based stations across Spain and Portugal for 1961–2011, also focusing on the 1979–2008 subperiod, were analyzed. Wind speed series were subjected to quality control, reconstruction, and homogenization using a novel procedure that incorporated the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model (MM5)-simulated series as reference. The resultant series show a slight downward trend for both 1961–2011 (?0.016 m s?1 decade?1) and 1979–2008 (?0.010 m s?1 decade?1). However, differences between seasons with declining values in winter and spring, and increasing trends in summer and autumn, were observed. Even though wind stilling affected 77.8% of the stations in winter and 66.7% in spring, only roughly 40% of the declining trends were statistically significant at the p < 0.10 level. On the contrary, increasing trends appeared in 51.9% of the stations in summer and 57.4% in autumn, with also around 40% of the positive trends statistically significant at the p < 0.10 level. In this article, the authors also investigated (i) the possible impact of three atmospheric indices on the observed trends and (ii) the role played by the urbanization growth in the observed decline. An accurate homogenization and assessment of the long-term trends of wind speed is crucial for many fields such as wind energy (e.g., power generation) and agriculture–hydrology (e.g., evaporative demand).