URI oceanographers: Wind speeds in southern New England declining inland, remaining steady on coast
Climate change, urbanization among possible causes
NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – December 5, 2012 – Oceanographers at the University of Rhode Island have analyzed long-term data from several anemometers in southern New England and found that average wind speeds have declined by about 15 percent at inland sites while speeds have remained steady at an offshore site.
Kelly Knorr, a graduate student at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, and Professor John Merrill reported the results of their research today at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
The researchers found that average wind speeds at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I., declined from about 9 knots to 7.7 knots from 1975 to 2011 and from about 8.2 knots to 7 knots at New Bedford Regional Airport in Massachusetts from 1973 to 2011. A 25-year record of wind speeds at a buoy at the mouth of Buzzards Bay, Mass., shows that wind speeds there remained steady at about 15 knots during the period.
Knorr and Merrill suggest several reasons for the decline in wind speeds at inland locations, including changing weather patterns and urbanization.