A review of historical extreme wind speeds in a changing climate at some major Canadian cities Conference

cited authors

  • Li, S; Irwin, P; Kilpatrick, J; Gibbons, M; Valerie, S

fiu authors


  • Some efforts have been made to consider the probable impacts of climate change on design wind speeds in tropical cyclone prone regions, such as Australia and the east coastal line of the United States. However, in Canada, the extreme wind speeds are mostly dominated by non-hurricane wind events. One recent study based on historical ground observations and re-analysis data indicates that stations over the Gulf of St. Lawrence of Canada mostly have no clear trend in terms of annual maximum wind speeds, but increasing variability was identified. A similar study shows that the historical monthly mean wind speed for the same region is decreasing. A recent study applies several weather forecast models for some possible future climate scenarios at various sites in Ontario, indicating an increase in the frequency of gust wind speeds between 28 km/h and 70 km/h. These studies point to three main tasks that need more research: obtaining a better understanding of any possible trends in historical data; the use of finer spatial scale regional climate model to predict future climate scenarios; and the development of more appropriate downscaling methods to relate the relationship between upper level and ground level wind speeds. The first task is critical to setting up the basis for measuring the quality of future climate modeling and to better understand how the current wind climate may translate to a probable future wind climate. From this perspective, this study explores the historical wind speed data in a number of major Canadian cities. Historical extreme wind observations are investigated in terms of the frequency of extreme wind events, seasonality and directionality. The probable impact on design wind speeds is discussed.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 10