Analysis of Washington, DC, Wind and Temperature Extremes with Examination of Climate Change for Engineering Applications

Franklin T. Lombardo, Bilal M. Ayyub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Climate projections suggest the frequency and intensity of some environmental extremes will be affected in the future due to a changing climate. These projections raise questions regarding the treatment of future extreme environmental loading for the design of buildings and other structures. One of the more uncertain questions is possible changes in the properties of extreme wind. For this paper, extreme wind events for nearly 70 years from the Washington, DC, area are analyzed from the three major airports [(1) International Airport at Dulles; (2) Washington, District of Columbia, Reagan Airport; and (3) Baltimore/Washington International Airport]. Uncertainties in estimation of extreme wind speeds without considering climate change are identified. Analysis disregarding climate change revealed that thunderstorms control design wind speeds for Washington, DC. As thunderstorms are then important, climate projections with respect to thunderstorms are also introduced. Possible strategies for long-term decision making are outlined such as understanding observed wind speed magnitudes and their relationship to environmental conditions, developing probability-based prediction techniques, and modifying design codes and standards. Extreme heat events occurring in Washington, DC, are discussed in a similar manner. Research needs in linking climate science and engineering design in the long-term are outlaid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04014005
JournalASCE-ASME Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems, Part A: Civil Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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