Observed trends in wind speed over the Southern Ocean

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Most studies of trends in regional climate focus on temperature, however for maritime environments in particular, changes in the wind are equally important. An analysis of trends in the wind over Macquarie Island is performed with a radio-sonde database spanning nearly four decades. The results indicate that the surface wind speed is increasing, with the trend for the upper levels being less well defined. The surface wind is highly correlated with the upper level winds, and the wind at all levels are moderately correlated with the Southern Annular Mode. ECMWF ERA-Interim reanalysis data shows significant trends in wind speed over several levels, however slightly smaller than trends in the soundings over a similar time period. The correlations in ERA-Interim are similar to those in the soundings. A clustering analysis of the wind reveals four distinct regimes, with a trend towards a regime characterised by strong north westerly winds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 5
Number of pages5
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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