, Volume 107, Issue 1-2, pp 15-33
Date: 20 May 2011

Variability of surface wind directions over Finnmark, Norway, and coupling to the larger-scale atmospheric circulation

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Abstract

This study documents the temporal and spatial variability of surface wind conditions over the Norwegian county of Finnmark and the coupling of local surface winds to the larger-scale atmospheric circulation, represented by the mean sea level pressure field. At locations along the northern coast, thermally driven offshore winds from the south dominate, especially during the cold season. During the warm season, downward mixing of westerly overlying winds becomes more important as the stability of the boundary layer stratification decreases. In the western part, locations are situated in valleys, resulting in two opposing along-channel dominant wind directions. Seasonal changes in atmospheric conditions are reflected in a reversal of the dominant wind direction, with a component towards the coast during the cold season. At all locations, a clear separation between different prevailing surface wind directions in each season can be achieved based exclusively on local mean sea level geostrophic wind direction. This allows statistical downscaling of the prevailing surface wind conditions from lower-resolution simulations of the surface pressure field and may improve local wind forecasts over complex terrain.