North Sea near-surface wind climate and its relation to the large-scale circulation patterns
The North Sea 10-m wind speed (WS10) climate is compared and related to circulation patterns based on the sea level pressure (SLP) extracted from three reanalysis and one high-resolution model dataset. The mean magnitude and the trends of WS10 depend considerably on the selected reanalysis. The variability of WS10 among the three reanalysis datasets is highly correlated in the recent period (1980–2000) but less so in the past period (1960–1980). The WS10 over the North Sea is well represented by the relatively low reanalysis resolution when compared to the high-resolution WS10 model data partially owing to the high spatial correlation of WS10. Exceptions are observed only at the coastal areas. The dominant mode of WS10 explains coherent variability of WS10 over the North Sea and is related to a SLP pattern similar to the North Atlantic oscillation (NAO). The increase of the magnitude of the dominant WS10 pattern is related to the increase of the magnitude of the NAO-like SLP pattern from 1960s to mid-1990s. The second dominant WS10 pattern—a dipole in WS10 to the north and south of Great Britain—is related to the differences in SLP between Scandinavia and Iceland. The relation between the second WS10 and SLP patterns is more prominent in the recent period. The extreme WS10 in the German Bight is related to the low SLP over Scandinavia. The extreme WS10 is strongly increasing from the early 1980s to the beginning of 1990s, which is not observed in the corresponding SLP time series over Scandinavia.