3TIER, a provider of renewable energy information, data, assessment and forecasting, has released a wind performance map for the fourth quarter of 2010. The map illustrates that wind speeds were above their seasonal average for large areas across the U.S. This increase is largely due to the La Nina phenomenon, and closely matches the wind anomaly forecast 3TIER released in early October 2010.
The wind forecast maps 3TIER released in early October for the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of this year displayed the probability that wind speeds would exceed their long-term averages. The maps show the variance in wind speeds that 3TIER forecasted at the time, as well as the variance that actually occurred. In comparing the maps, the areas where 3TIER forecasted a significantly increased chance of either above- or below-normal wind speeds match closely with the actual variance map, according to the company.
The actual variance map shows that wind speeds were 5% to 30% above their long-term averages across the western and northeastern U.S., the Great Lakes and eastern provinces of Canada. Most of the Texas wind corridor also saw wind speeds that were about 5% above normal. Meanwhile, much of the upper Midwest and central Canada experienced wind speeds that were 5% to 15% below normal.
The La Nina phenomenon is characterized by a cooling of surface water temperatures in the eastern, tropical Pacific Ocean and generally causes above-average wind speeds in the western U.S. and below-average wind speeds in western Texas, the Midwest and the Northeast seaboard.