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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2014, Article ID 292768, 10 pages
Research Article

Changes in Surface Wind Speed over North America from CMIP5 Model Projections and Implications for Wind Energy

School for Engineering of Matter, Transport, and Energy, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA

Received 14 March 2014; Accepted 12 August 2014; Published 1 September 2014

Academic Editor: Taewoo Lee

Copyright © 2014 Sujay Kulkarni and Huei-Ping Huang. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The centennial trends in the surface wind speed over North America are deduced from global climate model simulations in the Climate Model Intercomparison Project—Phase 5 (CMIP5) archive. Using the 21st century simulations under the RCP 8.5 scenario of greenhouse gas emissions, 5–10 percent increases per century in the 10 m wind speed are found over Central and East-Central United States, the Californian Coast, and the South and East Coasts of the USA in winter. In summer, climate models projected decreases in the wind speed ranging from 5 to 10 percent per century over the same coastal regions. These projected changes in the surface wind speed are moderate and imply that the current estimate of wind power potential for North America based on present-day climatology will not be significantly changed by the greenhouse gas forcing in the coming decades.