Trends in number of days with a maximum gust in the 99th percentile, 1972–2016. The number of days with a maximum gust in the 99th percentile provides information on the frequency of extreme wind events. Percentiles are obtained from all available daily maximum wind gust data. On average, the 99th percentile daily maximum wind gust will be exceeded on approximately 3.6 days per year. Therefore, annual counts higher than this indicate more days than usual with very strong wind gusts recorded; annual counts lower than 3.6 indicate fewer strong wind gust days than usual. By using a percentile threshold we can identify events that are extreme for a particular location. Some places are naturally subject to stronger winds than others, so vegetation can become ‘wind-hardened’ and may have a higher tolerance to high wind gusts (eg a 100 km/hr wind gust may be damaging at one location, but not at another). Using a relative threshold accounts for these differences and better captures extreme wind gust occurrences. The highest maximum gust per year and the average annual highest maximum wind gust both provide information on the magnitude of extreme wind events.
Steady wind can be an important resource, but strong gusts can damage property, topple trees, and disrupt transportation, communications, and electricity. Extreme wind events can occur with frontal weather systems, around strong convective storms such as thunderstorms, and with ex–tropical cyclones. Projections indicate climate change may alter the occurrence of extreme wind events, with the strength of extreme winds expected to increase over the southern half of the North Island and the South Island, especially east of the Southern Alps, and decrease from Northland to Bay of Plenty. Monitoring can help us gauge the potential of, and prepare for, such events.
Trend direction was assessed using the Theil-Sen estimator and the Two One-Sided Test (TOST) for equivalence at the 95% confidence level.
More information on this dataset and how it relates to our environmental reporting indicators and topics can be found in the attached data quality pdf.
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Imported on Oct. 12, 2017