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It’s been very windy lately. People have been asking me about the wind for a few months now. Many believe that it’s getting windier. Last week, I found this letter in my inbox:
Recent wind events prompt me to ask if this is normal? Also, do meteorologists track wind statistics and compare them year over year? If they do, it would be interesting to know their findings. My bet is that things are much windier than it used to be!
Enjoy your reports, best regards
Jack Maclean, Shelburne, N.S.
Well Jack, a new study has discovered that the world is getting windier and waves are getting higher. Researchers at the Australian National University in Canberra measured global wind speeds across the oceans using data from seven satellites from 1985 to 2008. Using five techniques to independently measure the figures, they found the speeds of the fastest winds have increased by around half a per cent. The height of the biggest waves has risen by between a quarter and half a per cent. Researchers argue that wind speeds are driven by ocean-atmosphere oscillations – in other words, changes in heat and pressure.
Now, to answer your first question, yes, climatologists do track wind data to compare statistics from year to year.
I thought we could have a look at local average wind speeds and direction for November. The first column is averaged over the 30 years from 1961 to 1990. The second column is also based on 30 years of data but from 1981 to 2010.
With only one exception, average winds speeds for November have dropped in these sample cities. A new set of averages based on 30 years of data from 1991 to 2020 numbers will be issued in early 2021; maybe then we’ll notice an increase.
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Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.