I’m about as much a scientist, as I am a science denier. If you don’t know exactly what that means, you’re probably not alone. I do have a Bachelor of Science Degree from Northeastern University – but that’s in Marketing. Perhaps that explains why I’m always creating my own hypothesis to test against real-world outcomes.
In 1970 I was out on Cape Cod waters learning to sail and race small boats. It was quite evident, even to an 9 year-old, that the wind was predictably calm all summer. I could count on 2 fingers the number of no-sail days due to winds blowing > 20 mph. Hurricanes notwithstanding, it was pretty much the same in the Spring and Fall with Winter having predictably (and proportionally) more > 20 mph days - but rarely more than > 30 mph. I almost never saw the weather bring a tree down.
In 1990 I moved to Marblehead Massachusetts and was a crew member racing on an International One Design http://iodwca.org . Each weekend at 10:30am I’d make my way down to the dock and assess the days wind conditions. Most mornings the wind would be 5 mph coming up to 8-10 mph (if we were lucky) in the afternoon. I could count of 4 fingers the number of days winds blew > 20 mph. Absent a storm, Marblehead would see a few more 20 mph days in the Spring and Fall than Cape Cod – and Winter had proportionately more > 20 mph winds – but rarely more than 30 mph. A Tree only came down in the Winter and invariably with ice/rain as contributing elements. On both Cape-Cod in 1970 and Marblehead in the 1990, more often than not the conditions that began the day would end it.
Summer of 2018 (my 30th year in Marblehead) it seemed like every time I went down to the dock in the am. to take my Bertram 20 to the beach, the winds were 10-15 mph. Three hours later I’d battle a 20 mph headwind and 3 foot chop all the way home. Some days, I’d go down to the dock in the afternoon and blowing too hard to even take her out. The Sailors never have to worry about “no wind”; now they worry about breaking the boat. Often times the wind goes from 5 to 20 mph (and higher) in an hour.
Global Warming is a subject of great debate over the last 10-20 years and the more I read the more noticeably I cannot find studies on average wind speed. We all know what happens when a High meets a Low – wind accelerates between the two weather systems. Squeeze play. Wind.
I just counted the 5th consecutive week since Thanksgiving wind speeds reached > 40 mph in Marblehead with the Cape seeing > 50 mph each occurrence. 57 years growing up in New England and the only time I ever saw > 50 mph wind-speeds was during a Hurricane. Trees now come down frequently, many of them from wind-speed alone.
Makes me wonder what kind of head winds we’ll all be facing in 2029.