What probability distribution do wind speed measurements typically follow?

I have seen a Weibull distribution used, but the page was a bit lacking on background information so I would appreciate confirmation and a reference, if possible.

If it is a Weibull, are there typical parameters that are used, or can these vary?


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    $\begingroup$ Where was the page where you saw the Weibull distribution? $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Mar 8, 2016 at 0:30

1 Answer 1


Yes, the most commonly used distribution for wind speed is the Weibull - at least when it comes to predicting wind speeds at prospective wind farm locations.

Yes, the parameters vary.

See, for example, the book "Wind Energy - The Facts", the output of an EU research programme (ISBN 9781844077106, also freely available online).

Or Seguro & Lambert's paper Modern estimation of the parameters of the Weibull wind speed distribution for wind energy analysis

As a starting point for estimation, it's usual to take $k=2$; this is equivalent to the Rayleigh distribution. However, the Weibull is more generalised, and often provides a better fit (i.e. $k$ isn't exactly 2).

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    $\begingroup$ Let me add some references to this answer: (1) Garcia, A., Torres, J. L., Prieto, E. and De Francisco, A. (1998). Fitting wind speed distributions: A case study. Solar Energy, 62, 139–144.; (2) Justus, C. G., Hargraves, W. R., Mikhail, A. and Graber, D. (1978). Methods for estimating wind speed frequency distributions. Journal of Applied Meteorology, 17, 350–353.; (3) Celik, A. N. (2004). A statistical analysis of wind power density based on the Weibull and Rayleigh models at the southern region of Turkey. Renewable Energy, 29, 593–604. $\endgroup$ Mar 8, 2016 at 19:22

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