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Is Ireland becoming less windy?

  • 24-11-2021 10:18pm
    Registered Users Posts: 349 ✭✭

    I was reading recently that there has been a drop in output from wind power plants this year in some countries in Europe and thought it would be interesting to graph wind speeds in Ireland. has historical data. I'm a total amateur at this.:) This is the first graph I produced. Its for counties I would consider less windy:

    For a given station, I calculate the value for today by taking all the Daily Mean Wind Speeds for the last 5 years and averaged them. I repeat this process for all days which have the necessary data available to them.

    Is the measurement of wind speed an accurate process over many decades? It certainly looks like Mullingar's wind speed has gone down a lot over the course of several decades. Is this possible? I have less data for the station in Cavan but the data I do have corresponds well with Mullingar. Not sure why Casement is so high there towards the end of the 80's.

    South West:

    You can see some data is missing for Roche's Lighthouse over a few decades. Shannon and Valentia are very similar and both have dropped over time.

    North West:

    Shannon, 1 Year rolling average:

    Shannon 1 Month rolling average:

    Its well known that Ireland is getting warmer, but is it getting less windy too?



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,235 ✭✭✭Oneiric 3

    Fantastic and interesting work there BarraOG.

    For some reason the page won't allow me to 'like' your post, because the interface of this forum keeps **cking up.

    New Moon

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,811 ✭✭✭ozmo

    Thanks broken for me - looks slightly less broken when I turn off fixes extension - but still broken.

    Very interesting - you might be onto something.

    also, I remember the winters from the 80's to be much much wetter and windier - (maybe its because I did more cycling then) - for a large part of the summer I would look at the rain outdoors. Definitely milder now.

    “Roll it back”

  • Posts: 3,801 ✭✭✭[Deleted User]

    Definitely not windy this year. I mean some trees still have leaves.

  • Registered Users Posts: 352 ✭✭Snugbugrug28

    I've been thinking about this since the UK gas price crisis. Not enough power from wind and not enough fossil fuel backup and it's lights out. What a tragedy it would be to plan for abundant wind and then for Climate Change to give us abundant mildness instead. In Cop26 they talked about Europe wide networks and I guess this is key.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,564 ✭✭✭Birdnuts

    The climate alarmists claimed we are getting stormier - yet that clearly is not the case here or in many other parts of the globe if you look at Hurricane patterns in recent years. Plus the Green idiots in government want to make our grid ever more insecure and unreliable by tying it to this same weather element

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  • Registered Users Posts: 349 ✭✭BarraOG

    Minimum Air Temperatures with 5 year rolling average, East:

    Same for South West:

    And North West:

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,219 ✭✭✭Gaoth Laidir

    This is the Mullingar station

    County Westmeath - Google Maps

    Comparing the aerial imagery of the area over time, some houses were built to the station's north and southeast since 1995, but they're not really close enough to greatly affect the mean wind, especially since the station remains well unobstructed to its southwest.




  • Registered Users Posts: 8,219 ✭✭✭Gaoth Laidir



  • Posts: 1,263 ✭✭✭[Deleted User]

    Has the hardware/tech used to collect wind speed data been upgraded or changed at any of these faciltiies? That could also be a factor?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 349 ✭✭BarraOG

    Minimum Air Temperatures with 5 year rolling average:

  • Registered Users Posts: 349 ✭✭BarraOG

    Combining my three graphs and including only the stations with a long history of wind speed measuring.

    Also, I did the same as above, but instead of averaging every day over a 5 year period, I instead averaged only the 10 windiest days over 5 years, giving:

    The Casement spike associated with the 90s and seen in the first graph is now evident for multiple stations in the second graph. This graph suggests that it is getting less stormy.

    And the same graph for the 10 calmest days:

    This combined with the second graph suggests that there is less variation in the wind speed as we approach the present day.

    Casement 1 year rolling average:

  • Registered Users Posts: 349 ✭✭BarraOG

    Actually it’s amazing how similar the 5 year average is compared to the 10 windiest day average, for 5 years. I’m guessing this is because wind speed is driven by single large events that are accompanied by numerous smaller events, just like with earthquakes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,050 ✭✭✭highdef

    I will be moving home soon, to an even more rural part of the country than present, in County Longford (just left home in north Kildare and am temporarily living in Meath over the winter period). The new home location is east of Mount Dillon (least windy synoptic station in the country) and northwest of Mullingar (second least windy synoptic station in the country). I for one welcome the data in these charts as I abhor wind. Calm 24/7 would be heaven for me although not a chance of that or anywhere near that in Ireland. Am really looking forward to early summer warmth when the east is quite cool owing to an onshore east or south east wind whilst it's pleasantly warm further west.

    Although I was about 40km from the east coast when living in Kildare, sea breezes did sometimes get to me in the afternoon on particularly warm days, tempering the pleasant heat. My new very central location should ensure little or no breeze during that type of weather set-up, in fact sea breezes will probably not be a thing at all.

    It would be a reasonable suggestion to make that Mount Dillon and Mullingar have the lowest wind speeds as they are so centrally placed with a lot of flat ground.

  • Posts: 864 ✭✭✭[Deleted User]

    You need to use means rather than averages. That'll sort out the extremes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,235 ✭✭✭Oneiric 3

    Only one problem with late spring/early summer weather is that we are not always guaranteed east or southeast winds, and in that case, you'll wish you remained in the east.

    New Moon

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,050 ✭✭✭highdef

    That is very true indeed but even in my old Kildare location I was almost always too far west to benefit from the Dublin/Wicklow Mountains shelter that very often tends only to come into effect once you get to around Maynooth/Leixlip if heading east or west on the M4, especially when there's a south or southwest wind blowing. Cloudy and often wet until that area and then good sunshine on the Dublin side of the boundary. 12 years of driving that route in both directions has taught me that.

    So I don't expect a massive change in regular day to day weather but I will welcome any sort of east or south east winds whenever they arrive. New location will benefit from slightly higher ground (about 30/40m) to the immediate east and northeast so that should provide even more shelter. There's also a hill to my south/southwest which is 100m higher than the house location so again, this may provide a small bit of shelter although it is more than two kilometres away so the amount of shelter will be very slight, if anything.

    Once thing I will miss is Irish Sea Streamers as my old house location was often in a great spot for those. Still, I'd take lighter wind and higher temperatures ahead of snow or cold, any day!

  • Registered Users Posts: 547 ✭✭✭shillyshilly

    it's all the wind turbines slowing it down..

    nuclear all the way !


  • Registered Users Posts: 60 ✭✭katherineconlan

    Slightly off topic but does anyone know what causes warm wind? I remember 11 years ago, I was walking in Dundrum during November and felt a warm breeze. Was very weird. All breezes I've experienced have been cool, regardless of the season.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,050 ✭✭✭highdef

    Sounds like a Foehn wind that you experienced, especially so if it happened in Dundrum -

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,235 ✭✭✭Oneiric 3

    On the plus side, your new location will benefit more from Arctic sourced snow showers (if we ever get such again, that is) On the negative side, you are going to experience a lot more looming cloud in all seasons! but which, on the plus side of that, can really bring out the mood of the great scenery in that part of the country.

    New Moon

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,272 ✭✭✭beggars_bush

    later start to the growing season in the midlands

    worst frost in winter generally.

    midlands rarely get easterly winds, in my memory

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,235 ✭✭✭Oneiric 3

    As of yesterday, November's mean windspeeds are running at about 8.7 knots, which is 1.6 knots below normal, so another below average month regarding windspeed pretty much assured at this stage.

    Credit: Met Eireann.

    New Moon

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,235 ✭✭✭Oneiric 3

    "But I think that overall your hypothesis is sound and it is something I once called "global blanding" as a sort of reality check on the warmer and stormier concept. There's always some example available of storms increasing in severity as I can well attest living where I do, we just had an unprecedented amount of November rainfall, but also here on the Pacific coast wind speeds seem to be slightly on the decrease long-term and we get less frequent wind warnings than might have been the case in earlier years". - M.T

    M.T, do you know of any source that holds long-term wind data for the west coast of N/NW America? Would be interesting to see if similar trends are occurring there.

    New Moon

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,050 ✭✭✭highdef

    The lack of easterly winds in the Midlands, going by your memory, further supports my thoughts that Irish Sea breezes from late spring through summer do not not penetrate to the Midlands whilst they have done so on warm afternoons at my previous location about 40km away from the east coast.

    Big thumbs up for me on that as I hate sea breezes with a passion, probably exasperated due to me enduring them for the first 26 years of my life when I lived a few hundred metres from the east coast. Way too often, a calm, warm and sunny May or June morning would turn into a windy and cold but sunny late morning and remain so until near sunset. The bitter wind would cut right through you, fresh off the still cold Irish Sea. And if the sea breeze did not develop, there would often be a thick sea fog. In either case, the temperature would often struggle to get into the teens when it could be into the 20s further inland.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,235 ✭✭✭Oneiric 3

    Found some historic Vancouver wind data (how legit it is I cannot tell)

    Wind Speed - Daily data for Vancouver (

    And regarding its highest daily gusts only, it seems the early '60s was a particularly windy period in the region.

    Highest gusts in Vancouver in this data set. Note: no clear indication what the metrics used are (km/h, kts or mph) but I assume km/h, because N. Americans, like the continental Europeans, are weird that way.

    89 km/h on both the 1st and 20th of November 1960

    82 km/h on the 14th Dec 2001, and again on the 28th Oct 2003.

    80 km/h on the 10th Nov 1955, and again on 15th Dec 2006.

    The last time we saw a gust of 70 km/h or more in recent times in the region was on the 4th December 2016.

    I will look in more detail later at broader trends regarding high gust and mean windspeeds when I get the time.

    New Moon

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,968 ✭✭✭✭Akrasia

    Climate models have been predicting a decline in mean wind speeds across the northern mid latitudes due to climate change since at least 2017

    This doesn't mean wind energy is not viable in the Atlantic northeast, it just means we need to plan for it

    Also a reduction in the mean wind speed does not preclude more powerful storms. The science seems to be suggesting fewer windstorms in our region, but when windstorms do happen, they are likely to be more powerful than without climate change. Note, a storms 'power' is more than just it's max sustained wind, it also includes the size of the windfield and the amount of precipitation it brings and any storm surge that accompanies it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,235 ✭✭✭Oneiric 3

    We've already shown in another thread, that storms are not becoming more powerful and that the opposite is true. This thread is about wind, not rain. Certainly, we have seen a general increase in late autumn and winter rainfall, but no doubt a big contributor to this is less fast-moving frontal systems (less robust winter jet) than we saw in the past, which itself can be linked back to the much warmer Arctic and decreasing thermal gradients over the N. Atlantic.

    New Moon

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,235 ✭✭✭Oneiric 3

    Edit to post above. The values are actual mean speeds as opposed to gust speeds. Never before have I dealt with such an appalling laid out and vague (with ref to cell titles) dataset as this one.

    But anyway, top 10 highest gust speeds and the year they occurred in in Vancouver

    New Moon