I recently learn about "global stilling", i.e. the fact that surface wind speed tends to decrease since the 80s. It was in this article, but it's from 2010. The Wikipedia page also seems a bit outdated, as it mentions the STILLING project as "current" (it ended in 2018). Said project has only one publication, although interesting (it suggests that part of the trend is an artefact from anemometers not ageing well!). So I was wondering what were the latest developments in this field? Do we now have a better idea of what could cause this phenomenon?


It seems to be a thing of the past. Apparently around 2010 the 30 years calming trend reversed. Since then, wind speeds and wave heights are picking up quickly, possibly in a decadal variation pattern.

Young et. al. 2010 Global Trends in Wind Speed and Wave Height

Possible application for the planning of wind turbines:

Zhenzhong Zeng et.al. 2019 A reversal in global terrestrial stilling and its implications for wind energy production

From the abstract of the latter:

... we use wind data from in situ stations worldwide to show that the stilling reversed around 2010 and that global wind speeds over land have recovered. We illustrate that decadal-scale variations of near-surface wind are probably determined by internal decadal ocean–atmosphere oscillations, rather than by vegetation growth and/or urbanization as hypothesized previously. ...

Similar observations of an increasing trend over ocean surfaces, overlapping with the period of global stilling over land.

Ching Wei Zheng et.al. 2016 Global oceanic wind speed trends

Can only read the abstract of the latter. Would be interesting to investigate further the reason for the differing observation and modelling of sea- and land-wind speeds during the term.

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, thanks, especially the second paper proposing another theory than increased roughness, which doesn't stand any more if the stilling is over. $\endgroup$ – Jean-Marie Prival Jun 29 '20 at 8:17

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