Scientists at Cornell University have released a new global wind atlas. It is a digital compilation of documented extreme wind speeds for all parts of the world. Such data will help engineers select turbine sites in any region and accelerate the development of sustainable energy.

The new wind atlas is the first publicly available, uniform, and geographically understandable (location-based dataset) description of extreme wind speeds, according to the study “Global Assessment of Extreme Wind Speeds for Wind Energy Applications” published in the journal Nature Energy.

Knowing extreme wind speeds is key to turbine design in terms of cost-effectiveness, correct model selection, and structural integrity at any given site, the researchers said. In the past, in many locations, estimates of extreme wind loads on projects were inaccurate due to the limited number of on-site measurements.

Wind turbines now generate carbon-free electricity in over 90 countries.

The growing demand for clean energy drove the creation of the new atlas. Quantifying extreme winds can also be useful in civil engineering applications and in analyzing the reliability of high-rise buildings and transportation systems.