Surface wind energy trends near Taiwan in winter since 1871

  • Wintertime surface wind speed near Taiwan has been weakening
  • The decreased wind speed is attributable to less SST warming in North Pacific
  • Air-sea interaction enhances the southerly wind anomalies near Taiwan in winter

The tropical surface wind speed in boreal winter reaches a maximum near Taiwan. This stable wind resource may be used for future clean energy development. How this surface wind energy source has changed in past 141 years is investigated using the 20th century reanalysis dataset and CMIP5 models. Our observational analysis shows that the surface wind speed experienced a weakening trend in the past 141 years (1871 - 2010). The average decreasing rate is around -1.4 m s-1 per century. The decrease is primarily attributed to the relative sea surface temperature (SST) cooling in the subtropical North Pacific, which forces a large-scale low-level anti-cyclonic circulation anomaly in situ and is thus responsible for the southerly trend near Taiwan. The relative SST trend pattern is attributed mainly to the greenhouse gas effect associated with anthropogenic activities. The southerly trend near Taiwan is more pronounced in the boreal winter than in summer. Such seasonal difference is attributed to the reversed seasonal mean wind, which promotes more efficient positive feedback in the boreal winter. The CMIP5 historical run analysis reveals that climate models capture less SST warming and large-scale anti-cyclonic circulation in the subtropical North Pacific, but the simulated weakening trend of the surface wind speed near Taiwan is too small.

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