Estimation of Weibull distribution for wind speeds along ship routes
Journal article, 2017

In order to evaluate potential benefits of new green shipping concepts that utilize wind power as auxiliary propulsion in ships or of offshore wind energy harvest, it is essential to have reliable wind speed statistics. A new method to find parameters in the Weibull distribution is given. It can be used either at a fixed offshore position or along arbitrary ship routes. The method employs a spatio-temporal transformed Gaussian model for wind speed variability. The model was fitted to 10 years’ ERA-Interim reanalysis data of wind speed. The proposed method to derive Weibull distribution is validated using wind speeds measured on-board by vessels sailing in the North Atlantic and the west region of the Mediterranean Sea. For the westbound voyages in the North Atlantic, the proposed method gives a good approximation of the observed wind distribution along those ship routes. For the eastbound voyages, significant difference is found between the observed wind distribution and that approximated by the proposed method. The suspected reason is attributed to the ship routing decisions of masters and software. Hence, models that consider only the wind climate description need to be supplemented with a method to take into account the effect of wind-aware routing plan.

Wind speeds

wind energy efficiency

Weibull distribution

hindcast wind

on-board measurements


Wengang Mao

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology, Marine Technology

Igor Rychlik

Chalmers, Mathematical Sciences, Mathematical Statistics

University of Gothenburg

Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part M: Journal of Engineering for the Maritime Environment

1475-0902 (ISSN)

Vol. 231 2 464-480

Areas of Advance



Subject Categories

Probability Theory and Statistics



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