Characterization of the wind speed variability and future change in the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands

Guillermo Gómez, William David Cabos, Giovanni Liguori, Dmitry Sein, Sergio Lozano-Galeana, Lluís Fita, Jesús Fernández, María Eugenia Magariño, Pedro Jiménez-Guerrero, Juan Pedro Montávez, Marta Domínguez, Raquel Romera, Miguel Ángel Gaertner

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Wind energy is susceptible to global climate change because it could alter the wind patterns. Then, improvement of our knowledge of wind field variability is crucial to optimize the use of wind resources in a given region. Here, we quantify the effects of climate change on the surface wind speed field over the Iberian Peninsula and Balearic Islands using an ensemble of four regional climate models driven by a global climate model. Regions of the Iberian Peninsula with coherent temporal variability in wind speed in each of the models are identified and analysed using cluster analysis. These regions are continuous in each model and exhibit a high degree of overlap across the models. The models forced by the European Reanalysis Interim (ERA-Interim) reanalysis are validated against the European Climate Assessment and Dataset wind. We find that regional models are able to simulate with reasonable skill the spatial distribution of wind speed at 10 m in the Iberian Peninsula, identifying areas with common wind variability. Under the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A1B climate change scenario, the wind speed in the identified regions for 2031-2050 is up to 5% less than during the 1980-1999 control period for all models. The models also agree on the time evolution of spatially averaged wind speed in each region, showing a negative trend for all of them. These tendencies depend on the region and are significant at p = 5% or slightly more for annual trends, while seasonal trends are not significant in most of the regions and seasons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1223-1237
Number of pages15
JournalWind Energy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Iberian Peninsula
  • K-means
  • regional climate models
  • wind speed

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