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A. M. Arafab*, G. H. Siddiqi, and A. Dakbeelallab

Department of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering

King Saud University

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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*Address for correspondence:

Department of Civil Engineering
King Saud University
P.O. Box 800, Riyadh 11421
Saudi Arabia

July 1992 The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, Volume 17, Number 3. 337
A. M. Arafah, G. H. Siddiqi, and A. Dakheelallah


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 Chi-square and Kolmogorov - Smirnov
goodness-of-fit tests at the 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 recurrence interval is presented. The information obtained allows evaluation
of design wind loads by the ANSI AS8.1 procedure.

338 The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, Volume 17, Number 3. July 1992
A. M. Arafah, G. H. Siddiqi, and A. Dakheelallah


INTRODUCTION Roughness of Surrounding Terrain

Wind loads, among the other design loads, are The measured data are affected by the roughness
crucial for the design of structures such as tall build­ of the surrounding terrain. In the event that the
ings, towers, radar and communication antennas. roughness around an anemometer changes signif­
This paper considers the reliability and homogeneity icantly during the period of record under considera­
aspects of the wind data and studies the distribution tion, it is possible to adjust the measured record to a
of extreme annual wind speeds over the Kingdom common terrain roughness by using a similarity
of Saudi Arabia to obtain a rational basis for the model [3].
evaluation of wind induced loads according to the
American National Standards Institute's Code for DESIGN WIND FORCES
design loads, ANSI A58.1-1982 (1).
Basic Design Wind Speed
Basic design wind (BDW) speed is defined as the
RELIABILITY AND HOMOGENEITY OF DATA maximum expected annual wind speed at the standard
In order for the wind speed data to provide height of 10 meters above ground in open country
useful information, it must be reliable and form a over a chosen recurrence interval. This speed is
homogeneous set. established by extreme value analysis of the instru­
mental data of maximum annual wind collected from
Measured data are considered reliable if the meteorological stations over a geographical region.
recording instruments are adequately calibrated and
The American National Standards Institute's code
are not exposed to local effects due to proximity of
for design loads, ANSI A58.1-1982 [1], employs
obstructions. However, if at any time in future the
fastest-mile wind (FMW) speed as the BDW speed.
calibration is found to be inadequate, it is possible to
FMW speed is the maximum annual wind speed at
evaluate the corrections and adjust the data.
which a one-mile long column of wind passes by an
Measured data form a homogeneous set when they anemometer.
are obtained under identical conditions of averaging
time, height above ground, and roughness of the Isotach Map
surrounding terrain.
An individual extreme value model for a station
predicts the BDW speeds at various recurrence
Averaging Time intervals at the station. The speeds at a network of
stations form the three dimensional input data for
Data averaged over short intervals, like highest contouring software which plots isotachs (lines of
gust, 5 second average etc., can, in certain cases, be equal wind speed) over the geographic region. BDW
affected by stronger than usual local turbulence, speed at a chosen location can be interpolated from
which results in a distorted picture of the mean this map.
winds. Averaging over longer periods, such as 5 or
10 minutes, is, therefore, desirable. Wind Induced Forces
Most codes translate the BDW speed to an equiv­
Anemometer Height above Ground alent static wind load intensity which varies over
the height of a given structure. This procedure takes
A height of 10 m above ground is considered to be account of the type of "terrain exposure" facing the
the standard instrument height. Wind data measured structure, the shape and form of the structure, and
at any other height are adjusted to the standard its "importance" and other related factors.
height by a power law [2]. The values of the expo­
nent in the power law for different "exposure" are
available in the literature [2]. Specifically, for mete­
orological stations, which are invariably located in The data on the highest annual wind speeds avail­
open country, the exponent is one-seventh. able with the Meteorological and Environmental

July 1992 The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, Volume 17, Number 3. 339
A. M. Arafah, G. H. Siddiqi, and A. Dakheelallah

Protection Agency (MEPA) include records varying Table 1. Profile of Wind Monitoring Stations
over periods of three to thirty three years measured in the Kingdom.
at twentyweight stations well distributed over the
Station Station Anemometer Years of
Kingdom. Twenty of these stations have records No. Name Height (m) Continuous
over a continuous duration of fifteen or more years, Records
which is desirable for the probabilistic analysis
involved here. These stations along with the ane­ 1 Badanah 6 19
mometer heights and duration of their record are 2 Bisha 6 20
listed in Table 1 and are considered in this study. 3 Dhahran 10 26
4 Gassim 7 23
It is presumed that the anemometer at all the
weather stations in the Kingdom are situated in open 5 Gizan 8 22
country environments throughout their period of 6 Hail 8 26
commission and that they are well maintained and 7 Jeddah 10 19
adequately calibrated. However, if at any time in 8 Jouf 7 19
future, it is determined that the calibration was not 9 Khamis Mushayt 9 23
adequate, or the height of instrument or terrain 10 Madina 10 26
roughness did change, corrections can be evaluated 11 Najran 8 15
and the data adjusted accordingly. 12 Hafer-Albatin 8 19
The measured annual wind speeds at all the sta­ 13 Riyadh 10 26
tions are averaged over a ten-minute duration. The 14 Rafah 12 18
ten-minute speed in knots is converted to ten-minute 15 Sulayel 10 20
speed in miles per hour. The averaging time for con­ 16 Tabouk 9 26
version of this speed to FMW speed is obtained by an 17 Taif 8 26
iterative procedure, and is used to derive the desired 18 Turaif 8 17
fastest mile [2]. This speed, in case of nonstandard 19 Wajeh 10 26
instrumental heights, is then reduced to the standard 20 Yanbu 10 23
height by the power law.
21 AlwEhsa 10 4
22 Abha 10 8
23 Baha 10 6
Extreme Value Distributions 24 Gurayat 10 5
The theory of extreme values has been successfully 25 Jeddah (KAlA) 10 7
used in civil engineering applications. Floods, winds, 26 Makkah 10 9
and floor loadings are all variables whose largest 27 Riyadh (KKIA) 10 5
value in a sequence may be critical to a civil engi­ 28 Sharurah 10 5
neering system [4]. In case of well-behaved climates
(i.e. ones in which infrequent strong winds are not successive years, variables Xi are assumed to be
expected to occur) it is reasonable to assume that mutually independent and to have identical distribu w
each of the data in a series for the largest annual tions. Supposing that random variables Xi are
wind speeds contributes to the probabilistic behavior unlimited in the positive direction and that the upper
of the extreme winds. tail of their distribution falls in an exponential
The design wind speed can be defined in probabi­ manner, then variable V, the largest of n independ w
listic terms, where the largest wind speed in a year is ent variables Xi' has Type I (Gumbel) extreme dis­
considered as a random variable with its cumulative tribution, Fv(lJ) , as follows,
density function characterizing its probabilistic
behavior. F,(") = exp [ -exp ( - ,,:u)] , (1)

A commonly used distribution in extreme value where ex and u are the scale and location parameters
analysis is the double exponential distribution in and estimated from the observed data at each station.
which an annual wind speed record, Xi' is consid­ The distribution function F v(lJ) is the probability of
ered to be a random variable in the i-th year. For n not exceeding the wind speed lJ.

340 The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, Volume 17, Number 3. July 1992
A. M. Arafah, G. H. Siddiqi, and A. Dakheelallah

The Type II (Frechet) extreme-value distribution quality of the data, there are sampling and modeling
also arises as the limiting distribution of the largest errors.
value of many independent identically distributed
The sampling errors are a consequence of the
random variables. In this case, each of the under­
limited size of samples from which the distribution
lying variables has a distribution which, on the left, is
parameters are estimated. These errors, in theory,
limited to zero. The Type II distribution function,
vanish as the size of the sample increases indefinitely
Fy(u), is,
[3]. A sample size of 15 or more, at a station,

F,(tI) = exp [ - (~rJ ' (2)

employed in this study is adequate in this regard.
The modeling errors are due to inadequate
where the parameters wand -yare estimated from choice of the probabilistic model. Chi-square and
the observed data at each station. The parameter, -y, Kolmogorov-Smirnov (K -S) Tests are performed
is known as the tail length parameter [4]. to choose the best fitting model.

Based on the method of order statistics developed Probabilistic Wind Models in Use
by Lieblein [5], the values of cumulative density
function, Fy(u), corresponding to a series of extreme One major question that arises in the wind speed
annual wind speeds, can be estimated as follows, extreme value analysis is the type of probability dis­
tribution best suited for modeling the behavior of the
extreme winds. Thorn [7] studied the annual extreme
wind data for 141 open country stations in the United
States. The Type II distribution was chosen to fit the
where n is the number of years of record and m (u)
annual extreme wind series giving isotach maps for
is the rank of the event, u, in ascending order of
2, 50, and 100-year mean recurrence intervals.
Thorn [8] also developed new distributions of
The inverse function of Fy(u) is known as the per­
extreme winds in the United States for 138 stations.
centage point function (PPF), which gives the value
New maps were drawn for 2-year, 10-year, 25-year,
of wind speed U at a selected value of Fy(u). For
50-year, and 100-year mean recurrence intervals. In
Type I (Gumbel) extreme distribution the PPF is,
his study, Thorn used the Type II (Frechet) distribu­
U (F) = u + a.y(F) , (4) tion. He indicated that examination of extensive
non-extreme wind data indicated that such data
which shows a linear relation between u(F) and the follow a log-normal distribution quite closely, which
intermediate variable y(F), given by: reinforces the choice of the Type II distribution.
y (F) = - In ( - In F) . (5) Simiu [9] presented a study in which a 37-year
series of five-minute highest yearly speeds measured
Relation Between the Two Distributions at stations with well-behaved climates were sub­
jected to the probability plot correlation coefficient
A Type II distribution with small values of tail test to determine the tail length parameter for the
length parameter results in higher estimates of the best fitting distribution of the largest values. Of these
extreme wind speeds than a Type I distribution. It series, 72% were best modeled by Type I distribu­
can be shown that for values of parameter -y equal to tion or equivalently by the Type II distribution
15 or more the two distributions, Type I and II, are with -y 13; 11 % by the Type II distribution with
almost identical [6]. It can also be shown that if V 7 < -y < 13; and 17% by the Type II distributions
has Type II distribution then Z = In V has the Type I with 2<-y<7. Simiu [10] obtained the same per­
distribution with parameters u = In wand a. = (1/ -y). centages from the analysis of 37 data sets generated
This relationship affords use of Type I probability by Monte Carlo simulation from a population with a
paper for Type II distribution also [4]. Type I distribution which indicates that in well­
behaved climates extreme wind speeds are well
Errors in Prediction of Wind Speeds modeled by Type I rather than Type II distributions.
Errors are inherent in the process of wind speed Simiu [6] showed that the Type I distribution of
prediction. Besides the errors associated with the the largest values is an adequate representation of

July 1992 The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, Volume 17, Number 3. 341
A. M. Arafah, G. H. Siddiqi, and A. Dakheelallah

extreme wind behavior in most regions not subjected 2. The data, for each station, are then arranged in
to hurricane-force winds. Simiu [3] indicated that for ascending order. The corresponding values of the
hurricane-prone regions a Type II distribution with a CDF are calculated from Equation 3.
small value of the tail length parameter may give a
3. The intermediate parameter, y, is calculated
better estimate of extreme wind speeds.
using Equation S.
The ANSI #AS8.1-82 [1] wind load provision is 4. Linear regression analysis is performed between
based on a wind-speed contour map developed by values of u and the corresponding values of y, to
Simiu [11]. The wind speeds in the map were estab­ estimate values of parameters u and 0. in Equa­
lished from the data collected at 129 meteorological tion 4. Such an analysis for Madina is shown in
stations in the contiguous United States. The Type I Figure 1 as an example.
(Gumbel) distribution is used in the analysis. Simiu
used data only for locations for which a minimum of 5. The Chi-square (X 2 ) test at 95 percent confidence
10 years of continuous records were available [12]. level is performed for model verification.

The provisions of the National Building Code of 6. Steps 4 and 5 are repeated using In (V) in place of
Canada [13] are also based upon the assumption that V.
extreme wind speed is best modeled by the Type I 7. Based on the distribution of the data as plotted
distribution. on the modified extreme Type I probability paper
and on the minimum value of X2, the more appro­
STEPS OF EXTREME VALUE ANALYSIS priate model for the wind speed data is selected.
The determination of the appropriate distribution 8. In case of the Type II distribution, the parameters
type involves the following steps: w=e u and "(=(1/0.) are also calculated.
1. The annual extreme wind speeds records at each
station are first corrected for the standard ane­
mometer height, terrain exposure, and the The extreme value analysis is performed on the
averaging time. wind speed data of the 20 stations which have fifteen


90 y = 45.342 + 9.8748x R"2 =0.962

S 80

~ 70
~ 60
~ 50
~ 40

< 30

-2 -1 o 2 3 4 5

Figure 1. Distribution of Extreme Wind Speed in Madina.

342 The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, Volume 17, Number 3. July 1992
A. M. Arafah, G. H. Siddiqi, and A. Dakheelallah

or more years of continuous record. The extreme MODEL VERIFICATION

distribution models obtained are presented in Table
The models obtained are checked by the Chi­
2. As seen in the table, at fifteen stations wind speed
square and Kolmogorov-Smirnov (K -S) goodness­
data are best modeled by the Type I distribution and
of-fit tests at the 5 percent significance level. The
the remaining five stations they follow the Type II
calculated values of the statistic DI for the Chi-square
and Dz for the K -S goodness-of-fit tests are listed in
As a specific example of the analysis, Figure 1 Table 3 along with the corresponding critical values,
presents the fastest mile annual extreme wind speed DIe and D ze , at 5 percent significance level. The
data for Madina Station plotted on the Extreme results indicate that the calculated values of DI are
Type I probability paper. The appropriate model is below the critical values at sixteeen stations. At the
found to be, remaining four stations, Dhahran, Jouf, Hafer
Al-batin, and Yanbu, however, they exceed the
v = 45.34 + 9.75 Y critical limits. Such a result, when several events are
clustered in one wind speed interval, is expected in
Fy('O) = exp [ -exp ( - ( 'O-45.34))J
9.75 . Chi-square analysis. On the other hand, the calcu­
lated values of statistic Dz are less than the critical
On the other hand, in Riyadh, the fastest mile values at all the stations which indicates that the
annual extreme wind speeds were found to be best models are acceptable at 95 percent confidence level.
modeled by the extreme Type II given by:
Fy('O) = exp [ - ( ~ .
At any station, the extreme wind speed at a partic­
ular annual probability of exceedance, P a , can be
Table 2. Extreme Value Models of Fastest Mile Speed in

Mile per Hour at 20 Stations in the

Table 3. Calculated and Critical Values of Statistics D.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
and D']. at the 5 Percent Significance Level.
Station Type * U (00) ** a ('Y)** Kolmogorov ­
Chi-Square Test
Badana I 59.54 11.37 Station Smirnov Test
Bisha I 51.16 8.73 DI DIe DZ D ze
Dhahran I 45.95 4.90
Gassim Badana 2.087 11.07 0.0835 0.300
I 63.19 11.59
Gizan I 53.48 11.59 Bisha 1.493 11.07 0.0791 0.290
Hail II 53.52 7.99 Dhahran 19.110 11.07 0.1541 0.256
leddah I 48.59 6.44 Gassim 4.163 11.07 0.0748 0.272
lout I 56.88 7.09 Gizan 5.247 11.07 0.1414 0.278
Khamis Mushayt I 42.05 7.58 Hail 5.903 11.07 0.1177 0.256
Madina I 45.34 9.87 leddah 3.169 11.07 0.1569 0.300
Najran II 47.94 8.03 louf 16.558 11.07 0.1368 0.300
Hafer-Albatin I 57.46 6.66 Khamis Mushayt 9.310 11.07 0.0929 0.272
Riyadh II 51.98 7.57 Madina 3.661 11.07 0.1529 0.256
Rafah Najran 7.949 11.07 0.1625 0.340
I 55.26 7.27
Sulayel II 51.22 6.55 Hafer-Albatin 22.741 11.07 0.1346 0.300
Tabuk II 54.54 8.05 Riyadh 10.215 11.07 0.2198 0.256
Taif I 51.36 8.68 Rafah 9.255 11.07 0.1463 0.310
Turaif I 56.53 8.19 Sulayel 7.234 11.07 0.1074 0.290
Wajh I 47.17 8.21 Tabuk 10.376 11.07 0.1054 0.256
Yanbu I 46.58 6.68 Taif 5.345 11.07 0.1122 0.256
Turaif 4.313 11.07 0.1136 0.320
* Extreme value distribution type. Wajh 4.547 11.07 0.1377 0.256
** In case of the Type II distribution, the values listed belong to Yanbu 17.608 11.07 0.1228 0.272
the parameters within the parentheses in the column heading.

July 1992 The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, Volume 17, Number 3. 343
A. M. Arafah, G. H. Siddiqi, and A. Dakheelallah

calculated using the corresponding wind speed information supplied to it and then develops a best
model. The mean recurrence interval or return fitting surface over the grid. The fifty year return
period, N, is defined as: period wind speed contour map is plotted in Figure 2.
In this study, appropriate extreme wind distribu­
If a structure has a life span of n years, then for a tion models for the largest yearly fastest-mile wind
specific wind with a return period of N years, the speed at 20 weather stations in the Kingdom are
percentage risk, which expresses the probability that developed. The analysis of the data revealed that the
this design wind is exceeded at least once during the probabilistic behavior of the series of the largest
lifetime of the structure, is given by: annual winds at fifteen of the twenty stations can be
described by the Type I extreme distribution while at
P,=l-[l-P,I'=l-[l-~J (7) the remaining stations by the Type II distribution.
An isotach map for 50-year recurrence intervals is
If the return period is taken to be the same as the developed for use with the ANSI -procedure in devel­
lifetime of the structure, there is always a risk of oping wind loads.
63% that this speed is exceeded at least once during
the lifetime of the structure. The maximum basic design wind speed of 107.2
mph, for 50-year mean recurrence interval, is obtained
The mean recurrence interval or the return period at Gassim Station, while the minimum of 65.1 mph is
for a specified accepted risk percentage and design obtained at Dhahran. The ANSI -prescribed mini­
service lifetime of the structure is given as: mum of 70 mph is exceeded at all stations excepting
1 Dhahran.
N 1- (1- Pr )l/n . (S)
Table 4. Fastest-Mile Design Wind Speed (mph) at
ANSI A5S.1-S2 [1] specifies that a basic design Weather Stations for DitTerent Mean Recurrence
wind speed corresponding to a 50-year mean recur­ Intervals.
rence interval should be used in designing all perma­
Mean Recurrence Interval, years
nent structures. However, those structures with an Station
unusually high degree of hazard to life and property 25 50 100 475
in the case of failure, are to be designed for a 100­
Badana 95.9 103.9 111.8 129.6
year mean recurrence interval, while those structures
Bisha 79.1 85.2 91.3 104.9
having no human occupants or where there is negli­
gible risk to human life, are to be designed for a Dhahran 61.6 65:1 68.5 76.1
25-year mean recurrence interval. Gassim 99.3 107.2 115.1 132.7
Gizan 90.6 98.6 106.8 124.9
Based on a given set of observed annual wind Hail 79.8 87.2 95.2 115.8
speeds, the principal output from this procedure is Jeddah 69.2 73.7 78.2 88.3
the estimated wind speeds, V N, for various mean
Jouf 79.6 84.5 89.5 100.5
recurrence intervals. Wind speeds at 25,50, 100, and
Khamis Mushayt 66.3 71.6 76.9 88.4
475 years return period are listed in Table 4. The
Madina 76.9 83.8 90.7 106.1
return period of 475 is calculated using 50 year
Najran 71.4 77.9 85.0 112.0
design lifetime of the structure and 10 percent
Hafer-Albatin 78.8 83.4 88.1 98.5
accepted risk.
Riyadh 79.3 87.0 95.4 117.3
PLOTTING OF ISOT ACHS Rafah 78.5 83.6 88.7 100.0
Sulayel 83.4 92.9 103.3 131.1
Isotachs for given recurrence intervals are plotted Tabuk 81.1 88.5 96.6 117.2
over the geographic map of the Arabian peninsula Taif 79.1 85.2 91.3 104.9
from the estimated extreme winds of twenty stations. Turaif 82.7 88.8 94.2 107.0
A contouring software is employed to plot the
Wajh 73.9 79.7 85.4 98.3
isotachs. The software first generates information
Yanbu 67.9 72.6 77.3 87.7
on a regularly spaced grid from the irregular grid

344 The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, Volume 17, Number 3. July 1992
A. M. Arafah, G. H. Siddiqi, and A. Dakheelallah

Figure 2. Isotachs, in mph, Annual Fastest-Mile, 33 Feet Above Ground for Exposure C,
with 50-Year Mean Recurrence Interval.

REFERENCES [4] J. R. Benjamin and C. A. Cornell, Probability, Sta­

tistics, and Decision for Civil Engineers. New York:
[1] American National Standard Building Code Require­ McGraw-Hill, 1970.
ments for Minimum Design Loads in Buildings and
[5] J. Lieblein, "A New Method of Analyzing Extreme­
Other Structures, A58.1. New York: American
Value Data", National Bureau of Standards Report
National Standards Institute, 1982.
No. 2190, Washington, D.C., 1953.
[2] "Wind Loading and Wind-Induced Structural Re­ [6] E. Simiu and J. J. Filliben, "Probability Distribu­
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the Committee on Dynamic Effects of the Structural Structural Division, ASCE, l02(ST9) (1976),
Division, American Society of Civil Engineers, New p. 1861.
York, 1987. [71 H. c. S. Thorn, "Distribution of Extreme Winds in
[3] E. Simiu and R. Scanlan, Wind Effects on Structures, the United States", Journal of the Structural Division,
2nd edn. New York: Wiley- Interscience, 1986. ASCE, 86(ST4) (1960), p. 11.

July 1992 The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, Volume 17, Number 3. 345
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[8] H. C. S. Thorn, "New Distributions of Extreme States", NBS Building Science Series 118, U.S. Dept.
Winds in the United States", Journal of the Structural of Commerce, National Bureau of Standards, March
Division, ASCE, 94(ST7) (1968), p. 1787. 1979.
[9] E. Simiu and J. J. Filliben, "Statistical Analysis of [12] K. C. Mehta, "Wind Load Provision ANSI #A58.1­
Extreme Winds", Technical Note No. 868, National 1982", ASCE Annual Convention and Structural
Bureau of Standards, Washington, D.C., 1975. Congress, New Orleans, October 1982, p. 769.
[10] E. Simiu, J. Bietry, and J. J. Filliben, "Sampling [13] Canadian Structural Design Manual, Supplement No.
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[11] E. Simiu, M. J. Changery, and J. J. Filliben, "Extreme Paper Received. 14 April 1990;

Wind Speeds at 129 Stations in the Contiguous United Revised 7 December 1991, 22 February 1992.

346 The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, Volume 17, Number 3. July 1992