Generalized wind speed probability distribution

Karen C. Chou, Ross B. Corotis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The magnitude of the vector sum of two orthogonal, horizontal, wind velocity components is often modelled by the Rayleigh distribution. In the derivation, it is assumed that the components are independent, identically distributed, zero-mean, Gaussian random variables. The effect of unequal variance components with both zero and nonzero means is investigated and the resulting distribution is found to be closely fitted by the Rayleigh distribution calibrated to the derived mean wind speed. The more general case in which the unequal variance components are correlated, again with both zero and nonzero means, is studied. The Rayleigh distribution again provides a good approximation when calibrated to the mean wind speed. Data collected by the National Weather Service are used to illustrate the approach. Comparison of the derived distribution with the observed histogram and the Rayleigh distribution shows that the Rayleigh provides a good approximation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-29
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Engineering Mechanics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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