Impact of Surface Roughness Changes on Surface Wind Speed over Western Europe: A Study with a Regional Climate Model
The temporal trend of wind speed near the surface over land has been investigated over recent decades. A prevailing trend of decline was found in several studies for most areas in the Northern hemisphere, denoted as terrestrial stilling, with multiple causes being discussed. In this study, we focus on the impact of changes of surface roughness due to changes in land-use and vegetation cover on this variable for western Europe using the regional climate model RACMO driven by ERA5 reanalysis. We conduct two simulations at climate scale, with and without changes in land-use and vegetation on a yearly basis. We find that upper level large-scale circulation slowing down results in declining near surface mean wind speed, and that increases in surface roughness due to changes in land use and vegetation cover play an important role in intensifying this declining trend from our simulations with RACMO. However, the trends inferred from the model simulations and ERA5 are not consistent with trends derived from gridded observations database E-OBS. This could come from the complexity of integrating in-situ measurements with uncorrectable inhomogeneity to derive E-OBS.