The Global Wind Atlas comes in a period of increasing wide spread use of a fast and accessible internet, massive open global datasets describing the earth’s atmosphere and the surface conditions, powerful computer resources, and stronger international collaboration globally. That together with an urgent need to mitigate climate change by sensible renewable energy decisions has set the scene for the Global Wind Atlas.


The objective of the Global Wind Atlas is to

The correct usage of the Global Wind Atlas dataset and tools is for aggregation, upscaling analysis and energy integration modelling for energy planners and policy makers. It is not correct to use the data and tools for wind farm siting.


The Global Wind Atlas is part of an international collaboration. It has come about in the framework of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) ( and in particular the CEM Working Group on Solar and Wind technologies, lead by Germany, Spain and Denmark. The Danish Energy Agency Energy’s Technology Development and Demostration Programme (EUDP) funded the Global Wind Atlas project as Denmark’s contribution to the working group’s objectives. Below you can see the relationship between DTU Wind Energy and the CEM initiatives and IRENA’s Global Atlas for Renewable Energy.

Some of the working group partners we have worked with before for many years, on projects such as the MED2010 project, mapping wind and solar resources in North Africa, or in the UNEP GEF SWERA project, mapping wind and solar resources in around 15 countries over the world.

For other partners this is the first time we have worked together, such as IRENA and MASDAR institute. These partners can made possible a much greater impact of the atlas and bring members of different energy sector communities together in dialogue about what is needed. The IRENA Global Atlas of Renewable Energy has a dedicated set of tools to serve the Global Wind Atlas data to a worldwide audience.

Collaboration with the software development company World In A Box, based in Finland, has been an essential part of the project, in order to make the global calculation system, Frogfoot, a reality.

Global wind atlas relationship to Clean Energy Ministerial
Schematic diagram showing the relational context of the EUDP Global Wind Atlas project.

Limitation of the Global Wind Atlas

The global wind atlas covers the world providing wind climate statistics. However below we list reasons why a national wind atlas study is still required.

The GWA was developed to support the planning of wind energy on National scales, as well as to highlight the availble global resource.

Limitation of flow modelling

The Global Wind Atlas uses the orographic flow model within WAsP, the BZ-model [16]. This model performs well when the surrounding terrain is sufficiently gentle and smooth to ensure mostly attached flows. With the global coverage of the Global Wind Atlas, we are certainly going to be using the BZ-model in areas beyond its recommended operational envelope.

The Global Wind Atlas website allows the user to see where the flow modelling is likely to be increasingly uncertain, by adding a so called RIX layer to their map. RIX stands for ruggedness index and is an objective measure of the steepness or ruggedness of the terrain. Large RIX values will lead to large errors in the flow modelling. Most likely leading to an overestimate of mean wind speeds on ridge and hill tops. We therefore recommend users to inspect the RIX of their region of interest.


Neither DTU however, nor any of its partners and affiliates hold the responsibility for accuracy and/or completeness of the data and shall not be liable for any errors, or omissions. It is strongly advised that the data be limited to use in informing policy discussions on the subject, and/or in creating services that better educate relevant persons on the viability of wind development in areas of interest. As such, neither DTU nor any of its partners and sponsors on the Global Wind Atlas project will be liable for any damages relating to the use of the maps for financial commitments or any similar use cases.