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Wind speed variability and adaptation strategies in coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest

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Thesis type
(Research Project) M.R.M.
Date created
Overall, previous wind speed studies in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) present conflicting results for wind speed trends (both increasing and decreasing) in relation to climate drivers. This study fills a gap in the understanding of PNW wind behaviour by: determining if relationships exist between wind speed distributions, ocean/atmospheric climate indices, and monitoring station-specific attributes; assessing the robustness of relationships for forecasting wind speeds within the study area; and presenting adaptation strategies to wind damage. Analyzing the quantiles of the strongly skewed (non-normal) wind speed distributions reveals different behaviours for average and extreme wind speeds and significantly stronger winds at coastal locations compared with sites further inland. Coast locations appear to follow a nine-year cyclic pattern, while mainland sites have a downward wind speed trend. This finding has important implications for wind research and infrastructure or ecosystem planning in areas such as wind energy feasibility studies and timing management activities.
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