Northerly wind trends along the Portuguese marine coast since 1950

  • Francisco Leitão
  • Paulo Relvas
  • Fernando Cánovas
  • Vânia Baptista
  • Alexandra Teodósio
Original Paper


Wind is a marine coastal factor that is little understood but has a strong interaction with biological productivity. In this study, northerly wind trends in three regions of the Portuguese coast (Northwestern: NW, Southwestern: SW, and Southern: S) were analyzed. Two datasets with long-term (ICOADS: 1960–2010) and short-term data (Satellite: 1989–2010) were used to complement one another. The study revealed the northerly wind yearly data to be non-stationary and highly variable between years. Overall, the northerly wind intensity increased throughout the 1960s regardless of the area and dataset. Between 1960 and 2010, the northerly wind increased at a linear rate of 0.24, 0.09, and 0.15 m s-1 per decade in the NW, SW, and S coastal regions, respectively. The rate was higher in recent decades (1988–2009), with the wind intensity increasing by 0.4, 0.3, and 0.3 ms-1 per decade in the NW, SW, and S regions, respectively. Analyses of the sudden shifts showed significant increases in northerly wind intensities after 2003, 2004, and 1998 in the NW, SW, and S coast, respectively. Exceptions were found for autumn (September for short-term data), when a decrease in northerly winds was observed in recent decades, regardless of the area, and for summer, when no changes in wind trends were recorded in the NW and SW. The long-term data also showed a major increase in northerly winds in winter (January and February), which is the recruitment season for many small and medium-sized pelagic fish. The increase in the intensity of the northerly winds over the past two decades and the past half-century occurred at a higher rate than was estimated by the IPCC for the next century.



Francisco Leitão (SFRH/BPD/108949/2015) and Vânia Baptista (SFRH/BD/104209/2014) hold scholarships from FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology. This research was partially supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the COMPETE – Operational Competitiveness Programme and national funds through FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology, under the project UID/Multi/04326/2013. This research was supported by CLIMFISH project - A framework for assess vulnerability of coastal fisheries to climate change in Portuguese coast founded by Portugal 2020, n2/SAICT/2017 - SAICT (Projetos de IC&DT).

Supplementary material

704_2018_2466_MOESM1_ESM.docx (311 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 310 kb)
704_2018_2466_MOESM2_ESM.docx (31 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 30.5 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Ciências do MarUniversidade do AlgarveFaroPortugal

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