Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L11702, doi:10.1029/2006GL026000.


Changes in near–surface wind speeds due to global climate change may have profound geophysical and societal impacts. However, Global Climate Models (GCMs) are unable to replicate the historically observed magnitude and spatial variability of wind speeds, so we apply a downscaling technique to generate probability distributions of wind speeds at sites in northern Europe for historical periods (1961–1990 and 1982–2000) and two future periods (2046–2065, 2081–2100). Projections for the twenty-first century (C21st) indicate no evidence of substantial evolution relative to the end of the twentieth century (C20th), although there is increased divergence of results from downscaling of different GCMs toward the end of C21st. Predicted changes in the downscaled mean and 90th percentile wind speeds are small (<±15%) and are comparable to the current variability manifest in downscaling from different GCMs.