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Spatial Predictions of Extreme Wind Speeds over Switzerland Using Generalized Additive Models

AuthorsEtienne, Christophe; Lehmann, Anthony; Goyette, Stéphane; López-Moreno, Juan I. CSIC ORCID ; Beniston, Martin
Extreme events
Topographic effects
Mountain meteorology
Issue DateSep-2010
PublisherAmerican Meteorological Society
CitationJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 49(9): 1956-1970 (2010)
AbstractThe purpose of this work is to present a methodology aimed at predicting extreme wind speeds over Switzerland. Generalized additive models are used to regionalize wind statistics for Swiss weather stations using a number of variables that describe the main physiographical features of the country. This procedure enables one to present the results for Switzerland in the form of a map that provides the 98th percentiles of daily maximum wind speeds (W98) at a 10-m anemometer height for cells with a 50-m grid interval. This investigation comprises three major steps. First, meteorological data recorded by the weather stations was gathered to build local wind statistics at each station. Then, data describing the topographic and landscape characteristics of the country were prepared using geographic information systems (GIS). Third, appropriate regression models were selected to make spatially explicit predictions of extreme wind speeds in Switzerland. The predictions undertaken in this study provide realistic values of the W98. The effects of topography on the results are particularly conspicuous. Wind speeds increase with altitude and are greatest on mountain peaks in the Alps, as would be intuitively expected. Relative errors between observations and model results calculated for the meteorological stations do not exceed 30%, and only 12 out of 70 stations exhibit errors that exceed 20%. The combination of GIS techniques and statistical models used to predict a highly uncertain variable, such as extreme wind speed, yields interesting results that can be extended to other fields, such as the assessment of storm damage on infrastructures.
Description15 páginas.
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