You are on page 1of 22

Extreme Wind Speeds in the Kingdom of

Saudi Arabia

by
A. M. Arafah1,

G. H. Siddiqi2

and

A. Dakheelallah3

ABSTRACT
Extreme value analysis of wind data in the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia is described.
Probabilistic models of wind
behavior at twenty stations are generated which yield the
basic design wind speeds for a given recurrence interval
in fastest mile units. The models are verified by the Chisquare and Kolmogorov-Smirnov goodness-of-fit tests at 5
percent significance level. Basic design wind speeds are
calculated at each station and an isotach map of design
speeds for a 50 year mean reccurrence interval is
presented. The information obtained allows evaluation of
design wind loads by the ANSI A58.1 procedure.

___________________
1Asistant

Professor, Department of
Engineering, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Civil

Engineering,

College

of

2Associate

Professor, Department of
Engineering, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Civil

Engineering,

College

of

3Postgraduate

Civil

Engineering,

College of

Student, Department
Engineering, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

of

INTRODUCTION
Wind loads, among the other design loads, are crucial
for the design of structures such as tall buildings,
towers, radar and communication antennas.
This paper
considers the reliability and homogeneity aspects of the
wind data and studies the distribution of extreme annual
wind speeds over the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to obtain a
rational basis for the evaluation of wind induced loads
according to American National Standards Institute's Code
for design loads, ANSI A58.1-19821.
RELIABILITY AND HOMOGENEITY OF DATA
In order for the wind speed data to provide useful
information it must be reliable and form a homogeneous
set.
Measured
data
are
considered
reliable
if
the
recording instruments are adequately calibrated and are
not exposed to local effects due to proximity of
obstructions.
However, if at any time in future the
calibration is found to be inadequate, it is possible to
evaluate the corrections and adjust the data.
Measured data form a homogeneous set when they are
obtained under identical conditions of averaging time,
height above ground and roughness of the surrounding
terrain.
Averaging Time
The data averaged over short intervals, like highest
gust, 5 second average etc., in certain cases, can be
affected by stronger than usual local turbulence, which
results in distorted picture of the mean winds. Averaging
over longer periods like 5 or 10 minutes is, therefore,
desirable.

Anemometer Height above Ground


Height of 10 m above gorund is considered to be the
standard instrument height.
Wind data measured at any
other height are adjusted to the standard height by power
law2 .
The values of exponent in the power law for
different
"exposures"
are
available
in
literature2.
Specifically
for
meteorological
stations,
which
are
invariably located in open country, the exponent is oneseventh.
Roughness of Surrounding Terrain
The measured data are affected by the roughness of
the surrounding terrain. In case the roughness around an
anemometer changes significantly during the period of
record under consideration, it is possible to adjust the
measured record to a common terrain roughness by using
similarity model9.
DESIGN WIND FORCES
Basic Design Wind Speed
Basic design wind (BDW) speed is defined as the
maximum expected annual wind speed at the standard height
of 10 meters above ground in open country over a chosen
recurrence interval. This speed is established by extreme
value analysis of the instrumental data of maximum annual
wind collected from meteorological stations over a
geographical region.
American National Standards Institute's code for
design loads, ANSI A58.1-19821, employs fastest mile wind
(FMW) speed as the BDW speed.
FMW speed is the maximum
annual wind speed at which a one mile long column of wind
passes by an anemometer.

Isotach Map
An individual extreme value model for a station
predicts the BDW speeds at various recurrence intervals at
the station. The speeds at a network of stations form the
three dimensional input data to a contouring software
which plots isotachs (lines of equal wind speed) over the
geographic region. BDW speed at a chosen location can be
interpolated from this map.
Wind Induced Forces
Most codes translate the BDW speed to an equivalent
static wind load intensity which varies over the height of
a given structure.
This procedure accounts for type of
"terrain exposure" facing the structure, shape and form of
the structure, and its "importance" and other related
factors.
DATA PROCESSING
The data comprising of the largest annual wind speeds
available
with
the
Meteorological
and
Environmental
Protection Agency (MEPA) include records varying over
periods of three to thirty three years measured at twenty
eight stations well distributed over the Kingdom. Twenty
of these stations have records over a continuous duration
of fifteen or more years which is desirable for the
probabilistic analysis involved here.
These stations
along with the anemometer heights and duration of their
record are listed in Table 1 and considered in this study.
It is presumed that the anemometers at all the
weather stations in the Kingdom are situated in open
country environments throughout their period of commission
and
that
they
are
well
maintained
and
adequately
calibrated.
However, if at any time in future, it is

determined that the calibration was not adequate, height


of instrument or the

Table 1.

Profile of Wind Monitoring Stations


in the Kingdom
-------------------------------------------------------Station
Station
Anemometer
Years of
No.
Name
Height (m) Continuous Records
-------------------------------------------------------1
Badanah
6
19
2
Bisha
6
20
3
Dhahram
10
26
4
Gassim
7
23
5
Gizan
8
22
6
Hail
8
26
7
Jeddah
10
19
8
Jouf
7
19
9
Kamis Mushit
9
23
10
Madina
10
26
11
Najran
8
15
12
Hafer-Albatian
8
19
13
Riyadh
10
26
14
Rafah
12
18
15
Sulayel
10
20
16
Tabouk
9
26
17
Taif
8
26
18
Turaif
8
17
19
Wajeh
10
26
20
Yanbu
10
23
21
AL-Ehsa
10
4
22
Abha
10
8
23
Baha
10
6
24
Gurayat
10
5
25
Jeddah (KAIA)
10
7
26
Mekkah
10
9
27
Riyadh(KKIA)
10
5
28
Sharurah
10
5
------------------------------------------------------

terrain roughness did change, the corrections


evaluated and the data adjusted accordingly.

can

be

The measured annual wind speeds at all the stations


are averaged over ten-minute duration.
The ten-minute
speed in knots is converted to ten-minute speed in miles
per hour. The averaging time for conversion of this speed
to FMW speed is obtained by an iterative procedure, and is
used to derive the desired fastest mile2. This speed, in
case of non-standard instrumental heights, is then reduced
to the standard height by power law.
EXTREME VALUE ANALYSIS
Extreme Value Distributions
The theory of extreme values has been successfully
used in civil engineering applications.
Floods, winds,
and floor loadings are all variables whose largest value
in a sequence may be critical to a civil engineering
system3.
In case of well behaved climates (i.e. ones in
which infrequent strong winds are not expected to occur)
it is reasonable to assume that each of the data in a
series of the largest annual wind speeds contributes to
the probabilistic behavior of the extreme winds.
The design wind speed can be defined in probabilistic
terms, where the largest wind speed in a year is
considered as a random variable with its cumulative
density
function
characterizing
its
probabilistic
behavior.
A commonly used distribution in extreme value
analysis is the double exponential distribution in which
an annual wind speed record, Xi, is considered to be a
random variable in the i-th year. For n successive years,
variables Xi are assumed to be mutually independent and to
have identical distributions.
Supposing that random

variables Xi are unlimited in the positive direction and


that the upper tail of their distribution falls in an
exponential manner then variable V, the largest of n
independent variables Xi, has Type I
(Gumbel) extreme
distribution, FV () , as follows,
] ) !,

FV () = exp [ - exp ( -

(1)

where and u are the scale and location parameters and


estimated from the observed data at each station. The
distribution function FV() is the probability of not
exceeding the wind speed .
The Type II (Frechet) extreme-value distribution also
arises as the limiting distribution of the largest value
of
many
independent
identically
distributed
random
variables. In this case each of the underlying variables
has a distribution which, on the left, is limited to zero.
The Type II distribution function, FV () , is,
FV () =
where

the

exp

parameters

and

)] !

(2)

estimated from the


observed data at each station. The parameter, , is known
as the tail length

are

parameter3.

Based on the method of order statistics developed by


Lieblein13,

the

values

of

cumulative

density

function,

FV(), corresponding to a series of extreme annual wind


speeds, can be estimated as follows,
FV() =

(3)

where n is the number of years of record and m() is rank


of the event, , in the ascending order of the magnitudes.
The

inverse

function

of

FV()

is

known

as

the

percentage point function (PPF) which gives the value of

wind speed at a sellected value of FV(). For Type I


(Gumbel) extreme distribution the PPF is,
(F) = u + y(F)
which

is

linear

relation

(4)
between

(F)

and

the

intermediate variate y(F) which is given by,


y(F) = - ln(- ln F)

(5)

Relation between the Two Distributions


The Type II distribution with small values of tail
length parameter results in higher estimates of the
extreme wind speeds than the Type I distribution. It can
be shown that for values of parameter equal to 15 or more
the two distributions, Type I and II , are almost
identical4.
It can also be shown that if V has Type II
distribution then Z = ln V has the Type I distribution
with parameters u = ln and = ( 1/ ). This relationship
affords use of Type I probability paper for Type II
distribution also3.
Errors in Prediction of Wind Speeds
Errors
prediction.
quality of
errors.

are inherent in the process of wind speed


Besides the errors associated with the
the data, there are sampling and modeling

The sampling errors are a consequence of the limited


size of samples from which the distribution parameters are
estimated. These errors, in theory, vanish as the size of
the sample increases indefinitely9. A sample size of 15 or
more, at a station, employed in this study is adequate in
this regard.

The modeling errors are due to inadequate choice of


the probabilistic model.
Chi-square and K-S Test are
performed to choose the best fitting model.
Probabilistic Wind Models in Use
One major question that arises in the wind speed
extreme value analysis is the type of probability
distribution best suited for modeling the behaviour of the
extreme winds. Thom5 studied the annual extreme wind data
for 141 open country stations in the United States.
The
Type II distribution was chosen to fit the annual extreme
wind series giving isotach maps for 2, 50 and 100-year
mean recurrence intervals.
Thom6

also developed new distributions of extreme


winds in the United States for 138 stations. New maps were
drawn for 2-year, 10-year, 25-year, 50-year and 100-year
mean recurrence intervals. In his study, Thom used the
Type
II
(Frechet)
distribution.
He
indicated
that
examination of extensive non-extreme wind data indicated
that such data follow a log-normal distribution quite
closely, which reinforces the choice of the Type II
distribution.
Simiu7 presented a study in which a 37 year-series of
five- minute largest yearly speeds measured at stations
with
well-behaved
climates
were
subjected
to
the
probability plot correlation coefficient test to determine
the tail length parameter of the best fitting distribution
of the largest values.
Of these series, 72% were best
modeled by Type I distribution or equivalently by the Type
II distribution with =13; 11% by the Type II distribution
with 7<<13; and 17% by the Type II distributions with
2<<7. Simiu8 obtained the same percentages from the
analysis of 37 data sets generated by Monte Carlo
simulation from a population with a Type I distribution
which indicates that in well-behaved climates extreme wind

speeds are well modeled by Type I rather than Type II


distributions.
Simiu4 showed that the Type I distribution of the
largest values is an adequate representation of extreme
wind behaviour in most regions not subjected to hurricaneforce winds. Simiu9 indicated that for hurricane-prone
regions the Type II distribution with a small value of the
tail length parameter may give better estimation of
extreme wind speeds.
The ANSI #A58.1-821 wind load provision is based on a
wind speed contour map developed by Simiu10. The wind
speeds in the map were established from the data collected
at 129 meteorological stations in the contiguous United
States.
The Type I (Gumbel) distribution is used in the
analysis. Simiu used data only for locations for which a
minimum of 10 years of continuous records were available11.
The provisions of National Building Code of Canada12
are also based upon the assumption that extreme wind speed
is best modeled by the Type I distribution.

STEPS OF EXTREME VALUE ANALYSIS


The determination of appropriate
involves the following steps,

distribution

1)

the annual extreme


station are first
anemometer height,
averaging time,

wind speeds records at each


corrected for the standard
terrain exposure, and the

2)

the data, for each station, are then arranged in an


ascending order. The corresponding values of the
CDF are calculated from Eq.3 ,

type

3)

the intermediate parameter, y, is calculated using


Eq. 5,

4)

linear regression analysis is performed between


values of and the corresponding values of y, to
estimate values of parametrs u and in Eq. 4. such
an analysis for Madian is shown in Fig. 1 as a
sample,

5)

the Chi-Square , , test with 95 percent confidence


level is performed for model verification,

6)

steps 4 and 5 are repeated using ln (V) in place of


V,

7)

based on the distribution of the data on the


modified extreme Type I probability paper
and on
2
the minimum value of , the more appropriate
model for the wind speed data is selected, and

8)

in case of the Type II distribution, the parameters


= eu and = (1/) are also calculated.
RESULTS OF EXTREME VALUE ANALYSIS
The extreme value analysis is performed on the wind
speed data of the 20 stations which have fifteen or more
years of continuous record. The extreme distribution models
obtained are presented in Table 2. As seen in the table, at
fifteen stations wind speed data are best modeled by the
Type I distribution and the remaining five stations they
follow the Type II distribution.
As a specific example of analysis, Fig. 1. presents the
fastest mile annual extreme wind speed data for Madina
Station ploted on the Extreme Type I propability paper.
The appropraite model is found to be,
V = 45.34 + 9.75 y

Table 2

Extreme Value Models of Fastest Mile Speed in


Mile per Hour at 20 Stations in the Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia

---------------------------------------------Station
Type
u ()
()
(1)
(2)
(2)
---------------------------------------------Badana
I
59.54
11.37
Bisha
I
51.16
8.73
Dhahran
I
45.95
4.90
Gassim
I
63.19
11.59
Gizan
I
53.48
11.59
Hail
II
53.52
7.99
Jeddah
I
48.59
6.44
Jouf
I
56.88
7.09
Khamis-Mushiat
I
42.05
7.58
Madina
I
45.34
9.87
Najran
II
47.94
8.03
Hafer-Albatin
I
57.46
6.66
Riyadh
II
51.98
7.57
Rafah
I
55.26
7.27
Sulayel
II
51.22
6.55
Tabuk
II
54.54
8.05
Taif
I
51.36
8.68
Turaif
I
56.53
8.19
Wajh
I
47.17
8.21
Yanbu
I
46.58
6.68
---------------------------------------------(1)
(2)

Extreme value distribution type.


In case of the Type II distribution, the values
listed belong to the parameters within the
parentheses in the column heading.

which means,
FV() = exp [ - exp ( - ( ] ) ) !
On the other hand, in Riyadh, the
extreme wind speeds were found to
extreme Type II given by,

Fv() = exp

fastest mile annual


be best modeled by

)] !

MODEL VERIFICATION
The
models obtained are checked by the Chi-square and
Kolmogorov-Smirnov (K-S) goodness-of-fit tests at 5 percent
significance level. The calculated values of the statistic
D1 for the Chi-Square and D2 for Kolmogrov-Smirnov
goodness-of-fit tests are listed in Table 3 along with the
corresponding critical values, D1c and D2c , at 5 percent
significance
level.
The
results
indicate
that
the
calculated values of D1 are below the critical values at
sixteen stations. At the remaining four stations, Dhahran,
Jouf, Hafer Al-batin and Yanbu, they however, exceed the
critical limits. Such a result, when several events are
clustered in one wind speed interval, is expected in Chisquare analysis. On the other hand, the calculated values
of statistic D2 are less than the critical values at all
the stations which indicates that the models are acceptable
at 95 percent confidence level.

Table 3

Calculated and Critical Values of Statistics D1


and D2 at 5 percent Significance Level.
------------------------------------------------------------Chi-Square Test
Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test
---------------------------------------------Station
D1
D1c
D2
D2c
------------------------------------------------------------Badana
2.087
11.07
0.0835
0.300
Bisha
1.493
11.07
0.0791
0.290
Dhahran
19.110
11.07
0.1541
0.256
Gassim
4.163
11.07
0.0748
0.272
Gizan
5.247
11.07
0.1414
0.278
Hail
5.903
11.07
0.1177
0.256
Jeddah
3.169
11.07
0.1569
0.300
Jouf
16.558
11.07
0.1368
0.300
Khamis-Mushiat
9.310
11.07
0.0929
0.272
Madina
3.661
11.07
0.1529
0.256
Najran
7.949
11.07
0.1625
0.340
Hafer-Albatin
22.741
11.07
0.1346
0.300
Riyadh
10.215
11.07
0.2198
0.256
Rafah
9.255
11.07
0.1463
0.310
Sulayel
7.234
11.07
0.1074
0.290
Tabuk
10.376
11.07
0.1054
0.256
Taif
5.345
11.07
0.1122
0.256
Turaif
4.313
11.07
0.1136
0.320
Wajh
4.547
11.07
0.1377
0.256
Yanbu
17.608
11.07
0.1228
0.272
-------------------------------------------------------------

EXTRAPOLATION OF WIND SPEED MODELS


At any station, the extreme wind speed at a particular
annual probability of exceedance, Pa, can be calculated
using the corresponding wind speed model. The mean
recurrence interval or return period, N, is defined as
N = !

(6)

If a structure has a life span of n years, then for a


specific

wind

with

return

period

of

years,

the

percentage risk, which expresses the probability that this


design wind is exceeded at least once during the lifetime
of the structure, is given by
Pr = 1 - [ 1 - Pa ]n = 1 - [ 1- !] !

(7)

If the return period is taken to be the same as the


lifetime of the structure,
there
is
always a risk of
63% that this speed is exceeded at least once during the
lifetime of the structure.
The

mean

specified

recurrence
accepted

interval
risk

or

the

percentage

return
and

period

design

for

service

lifetime of the structrue is given as,

N = !

(8)

ANSI A58.1-821 specifies that a basic design wind speed


corresponding to a 50-year mean recurrence interval should
be used in designing all permanent structures.

However,

the structures with an unusually high degree of hazard to


life

and

property

in

the

case

of

failure,

are

to

be

designed for a 100-year mean recurrence interval while the


structures having no human occupants or where there is
negligible risk to human life,

are to be designed for a

25-year mean recurrence interval.


Based on a given set of observed annual wind speeds, the
principal output from this procedure is the estimated wind
speeds, VN, for various mean recurrence intervals. Wind
speeds at 25, 50, 100, and 475 years return period are
listed in Table 4. The return period of 475 is calculated
using 50 year design lifetime of the structure and 10
percent accepted risk.
PLOTTING OF ISOTACHS
Isotachs for given recurrence intervals are plotted over
the geographic map of the Arabian peninsula from the
estimated extreme winds of twenty stations. A contouring
software is employed to plot the isotachs. The software
first generates information on a regularly spaced grid
from the irregular grid information supplied to it and
then develops a best fitting surface over the grid. The
fifty year return period wind speed contour map is plotted
in Fig.2.
CONCLUSIONS
In this study, appropriate extreme wind distribution
models for the largest yearly fastest-mile wind speed at
20 weather stations in the Kingdom are developed. The
analysis of the data revealed that the probabilistic
behavior of the series of the largest annual winds at
fifteen
of the twenty stations can be described by the
Type I extreme distribution while at the remaining
stations by the Type II distribution. An isotach map for
50-year recurrence intervals is developed

Table 4.

Fastest-Mile Design Wind Speed (MPH) at

Weather Stations
Intervals.

for

Different

Mean

Recurrence

----------------------------------------------------Mean Recurrence Interval, years


Station
-----------------------------------25
50
100
475
----------------------------------------------------Badana
95.9
103.9
111.8
129.6
Bisha
79.1
85.2
91.3
104.9
Dhahran
61.6
65.1
68.5
76.1
Gassim
99.3
107.2
115.1
132.7
Gizan
90.6
98.6
106.8
124.9
Hail
79.8
87.2
95.2
115.8
Jeddah
69.2
73.7
78.2
88.3
Jouf
79.6
84.5
89.5
100.5
Khamis-Mushiat
66.3
71.6
76.9
88.4
Madiah
76.9
83.83
90.7
106.1
Najran
71.4
77.9
85.0
112.0
Hafer-Albatin
78.8
83.4
88.1
98.5
Riyadh
79.3
87.0
95.4
117.3
Rafah
78.5
83.6
88.7
100.0
Sulayel
83.4
92.9
103.3
131.1
Tabuk
81.1
88.5
96.6
117.2
Taif
79.1
85.2
91.3
104.9
Turaif
82.7
88.8
94.2
107.0
Wajh
73.9
79.7
85.4
98.3
Yanbu
67.9
72.6
77.3
87.7
------------------------------------------------------

Fig. 1

Isotach, in mile per hour, annual fastestmile, 33 feet above ground for exposure C,
with 50-year mean recurrence interval.

for use with the ANSI-procedure in developing wind loads.

The maximum basic design wind speed of 107.2 mph, for 50year mean recurrence interval, is obtained at Gassim
Station, while the minimum of 65.1 mph is obtained at
Dhahran.
The ANSI-prescribed minimum of 70 mph is
exceeded at all stations excepting Dhahran.

REFERENCES
1- American National Standard Building Code Requirements
for Minimum Design Loads in Buildings and Other
Structures,
A58.1,
American
Institute, New York, NY, 1982.

National

Standards

2- Wind Loading and Wind-Induced Structural Response,


Report by the Committee on Wind Effects of the
Committee on Dynamic Effects of the Structral Division,
American Society of Civil Engineers, New York, N.Y,
1987.
3- Benjamin, J. R., and Cornell, C.A., Probability,
Statistics, and Decision for Civil Engineers, McGrawHill Book Co. Inc., New York, N.Y, 1970.
4-

Simiu,
E.
and
Filliben,
J.J.,
"Probability
Distributions of Extreme Wind Speeds", Journal of the
Structural
Division,
ASCE,
Vol.
102,
No.
ST9,
September 1976, pp. 1861-1877.

5-

Thom, H.C.S., "Distribution of Extreme Winds in the


United States", Journal of the Structural Division,
ASCE, Vol. 86, No. ST4, April, 1960, pp. 11-24.

6-

Thom, H.C.S., "New Distributions of Extreme Winds in


the
United
States",
Journal
of
the
Structural
Division, ASCE, Vol. 94, No. ST7, July 1968, pp. 17871801.

7- Simiu, E., and Filliben, J.J., "Statistical Analysis


of Extreme Winds," Technical Note No. 868, National
Bureau of Standards, Washington, D.C., 1975.
8- Simiu, E., Bietry, J. and Filliben, J.J., " Sampling
Errors in the Estimation of Extreme Winds," Journal of
the Structural Division, ASCE, Vol. 104, No. ST3,
March, 1978, pp. 491-501.
9-

Simiu,

E.,

and

Scanlan,

R.,

Structures,
Second
Edition,
Publication, New York, 1986.

Wind
Effects
on
Wiley-Interscience

10- Simiu E., Changery, M.J., and Filliben, J.J., "Extreme


Wind Speeds at 129 Stations in the Contiguous United
States," NBS Building Science Series 118, U.S. Dept.
of Commerce, National Bureau of Standards, Mar. 1979.
11- Mehta, K.C., "Wind Load Provision ANSI #A58.1-1982,"
ASCE Annual Convention and Structural Congress, New
Orleans, La., October 1982, pp.769-784.
12- Canadian Structural Design Manual, Supplement No.4 to
the National Building Code of Canada, National
Research Council of Canada, 1970.
13- Lieblein, J., "A New Method of Analyzing Extreme-value
Data", National Bureau of Standards Report No. 2190,
Washington, D.C., 1953.