EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Historical analysis of global distribution of and trends in wind droughts

Enrico Antonini1,2, Edgar Virguez1, Sara Ashfaq1, Lei Duan1, Tyler Ruggles1,3, and Ken Caldeira1,4
Enrico Antonini et al.
  • 1Carnegie Institution for Science, Department of Global Ecology, Stanford, CA, USA
  • 2European Institute on Economics and the Environment, Milan, Italy
  • 3LIFTE H2, Boston, MA, USA
  • 4Breakthrough Energy, Kirkland, WA, USA

Wind droughts, or prolonged periods of low wind speeds, can be a severe issue for electricity systems that are largely reliant on wind generation. Therefore, it is important for energy system planning to understand the depth and distribution of wind droughts and their trends over time. In this study, we analyze the ERA5 weather reanalysis from 1979 through 2021, using an energy deficit metric that integrates the depth and duration of wind droughts over an annual temporal scale. Our analysis shows that the most severe wind droughts in many places occurred well before wind power generation started to penetrate power systems. This prevalence of wind droughts in the historical record, combined with little evidence for strong trends in their prevalence, suggests a statistical analysis of weather reanalysis products could provide valuable guidance in designing electricity systems reliant on wind power that are robust to wind droughts.

How to cite: Antonini, E., Virguez, E., Ashfaq, S., Duan, L., Ruggles, T., and Caldeira, K.: Historical analysis of global distribution of and trends in wind droughts, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-5419,, 2023.