Technical description of the Wind disturbance module

wind module

wind module

The wind module is a sub module of iLand. See disturbance modules for a list of available modules.
Scientific background of the spatially explicit wind disturbance simulation is available on the wind disturbance page.

wind module input data

Users of the iLand wind module need to provide several types of input data. These types are:

  • static parameters: either global parameters or variables per tree species. Examples are species specific turning moments or crown shape parameters. While global parameters are directly provided in the project file, species specific parameters are provided in an own parameter table in the input database of iLand.
  • parameters in space: this is currently the topoModifier which scales the global wind pattern to a local value. Values per resource unit can be assigned using the mechanism to set up the simulation extent.
  • parameters in time: basically a time series of wind events (with accompanying properties like wind direction and storm duration). This time series is provided with a time events file.

species parameters

Species specific parameters for the wind module are stored in a table specific to the module. The database table needs to be stored in the same database as the rest of the species parameter (see project file for more details).
The following table provides an overview:

shortNamestringshort name of the species. This key must be identical to the keys used for general species parameter.
CRegnumericNm/kg, critical turning coefficient derived from tree pulling experiments
crownAreaFactornumericempirical factor for the crown shape (fraction of area of the projected crown shape compared to an rectangle) (0..1)
crownLengthnumericcrown length of the tree given as fraction of tree height (0..1). See also competition for light for details on iLand crown shapes.
MORnumericmodules of rupture (MPa)
wetBiomassFactornumericconversion factor between dry and wet biomass (wet = dry*factor).

The SQL statements to create the parameter table and to populate with default values:

-- SQL statement
CREATE TABLE wind (shortName integer, CReg real, crownAreaFactor real, crownLength real, MOR real, wetBiomassFactor real);
insert into wind select shortName, 111,0.65,0.6,30.6,1.85 from species;

project file parameters

the general behavior of the wind module is configured by settings in the XML-project file in the section modules.wind. Especially settings related to characteristics of the storm (speed, direction, date) may be set using the time event mechanism.
The following settings are available:

enabledbooleanswitches the module on (true), or off (false).
speciesParameterstringtable name of the species parameter table for the wind module (see #species_parameters).
triggeredByTimeEventbooleanif true, then wind events are triggered by time events (i.e. defined in an external input file).
LRITransferFunctionstringExpression to compute the Hegyi concurrency index from the trees' LRI. Default: max(min(3.733-6.467*LRI,3.41),0.5) LINK MISSING
soilFreezeModestringswitch to define how to determine the state of the soil. Possible values are the strings yes: always frozen, no: never frozen, auto: the state is determined by calculating the soil temperature; if the temperature in 10cm depth is below 0°, the soil is considered as frozen.
edgeDetectionThresholddoublethreshold for the edge detection algorithm. An edge is defined as a height difference greater than edgeDetectionThreshold between neighboring pixels in the height grid.
storm characteristics
speednumerichourly mean above-canopy wind speed (10m above canopy, m/s). This general wind speed is modified by topography and may be modified during a event.
durationnumericduration of the wind event in minutes. Internally, duration is transformed to a number of iterations (see also durationPerIteration).
directionnumericmain cardinal direction of the storm in degrees (0°: north, 90°: east, 180°: south, 270°: west). The direction of the wind may be modified for individual pixels (see directionVariation)
dayOfYearnumericday of the year (0..365) of the storm event (used to calculate soil temperature).
topoModifiernumericmultiplier accounting for differences in local wind speed. The modifier is either resource unit specific (see simulation extent) or defined by 10m pixel (see setting topoGridFile). The actual wind speed for a pixel is calculated by multiplying the modifier with the speed.
topoGridFilestringspecifies a ASCII grid file containing the topoModifier. Modifier values are sampled for 10m pixels. File paths are relative to the project root folder.
topexModifierTypestringspecifies the calculation mode for values for the topoModifier. Possible values are "additive" and "multiplicative", which is the default. If "additive", the 10m-wind speed is calculated as (speed + topoModifier) * gustModifier.
gustModifiernumericdefines the variation of the global wind speed between iterations of the model. The gustModifier is given as a fraction (e.g. 0.05). The base wind speed is modified for each iteration with a value from the range +/- gustModifier (e.g.: multiplied by 0.95 - 1.05).
durationPerIterationnumericduration (minutes) of one iteration of the model, i.e. how long it takes to advance the frontline of the storm to the next (10m) pixel. The factor is used to scale the duration to a number of iterations used internally by the model.
directionVariationnumericvariation in wind direction (°) for fetch calculation; current wind direction = direction + rnd(-x, +x)
factorEdgenumeric (constant) ratio between the maximum turning moments at the stand edge and conditions well inside the forest (see Byrne 2011) (default: 5)

GUI visualization and grid description

The wind module operates for most calculations on a 10x10m grid. iLand provides a variety of input and output variables on that level. These grids can either be viewed in the GUI or exported via Javascript to ASCII grids.
Available grids are:

heightheight of the tallest tree (m) on a pixel.
edgevalues <>0 are "edges". The numeric value is the current "fetch" from this pixel, i.e. the distance in meters in the current wind direction to the next sheltering pixel.
cwsUprootcritical wind speed for uprooting (m/s) calculated on the pixel. If pixels are cleared (i.e. trees died) on a pixel, the value is kept.
cwsBreakcritical wind speed for stem breakages
nKilledthe number of trees killed by the wind on a pixel (tree>4m height).
basalAreaKilledthe sum of basal area of all trees killed on the pixel.
iterationa number indicating the iteration (1..n) when a pixel is "killed"
windSpeedCrowncurrent wind speed in the crown (calculated)
topotopoModifier for wind speed calculations. (if the variable is provided on the resource unit level, it is shown here scaled to the 10m pixel resolution)
isFrozen1 if soil is frozen on pixel, 0 otherwise. Note: resource unit level variable is scaled to 10m pixel resolution. Resource units that are not affected by the storm are "not frozen" by default.
nEventscumulative event counter, counting whenever trees on a particular pixel are killed (for the whole simulation).


The wind module provides also a Javascript binding. Whenever the module is active, a Javascript object Wind is available in global scope.


Wind.windEvent(windspeed, winddirection, max_iteration, simulate, current_iteration)
trigger a wind event from javascript.
windspeed: average wind speed (m/s)
winddireciton: wind direction (0°=N..180°=S..270=W°)
max_iteration: maximum number of iterations
simulate: if true, trees are not really affected (default: false)
current_iteration: if given a value >=0, then only one iteration is calculated ("interactive mode") (default: -1)

// start a single wind event
  Wind.windEvent(40 /*m/s*/, 90 /*east*/, 10 /* iterations */);
  // code for a interactive "movie"
	for (var i=0;i<10;i++) {
		Wind.windEvent(40,  132.4, 10, 
				   false, // do not simulate
				   i); // iteration
		Globals.wait(500); // wait half a second
		Globals.repaint(); // repaint the GUI

Wind.gridToFile(gridtype, filename)
This function saves a wind specific grid (specified by gridtype) in ESRI raster textfile format to filename. For possible values for gridtype see #GUI_visualization_and_grid_description.

// save the form of the fire in ESRI raster format
  Wind.gridToFile('edge', 'temp/fetch.txt'); // default storage location: project root folder

The function resets and reloads the wind module. Very helpful for repeated simulations as this allows to change model settings.

function manyEvents() {
    Globals.set("modules.wind.topoGridFile", "gis/topo_grid_1.txt");
    Wind.initialize(); // reload the wind module
    // output processing omitted
    Globals.set("modules.wind.topoGridFile", "gis/topo_grid_2.txt");

Wind disturbance module output

Table Name: wind
Wind related output generated by event (typically per year). The outputs are created after each year (or spread event) and contain information about bark beetle generations, spread and damage for the total landscape.
For spatially explicit outputs, see also the script functions for extracting gridded data.

yearintegersimulation year
iterationsintegerNumber of iterations of the storm event. Translate to duration by multiplying with 'durationPerIteration'.
windspeed_msdoubleWind speed of the event in m/s (note that windspeed varies with topography and between interations).
directiondoubleMain wind direction of the event in degrees (0°: north, 90°: east, 180°: south, 270°: west).
area_hadoubleTotal area affected (sum of area of pixels with affected trees)
killedTreesdoubletotal number of trees that were killed in the event.
killedBasalAreadoubleTotal Basal Area (m2) of killed during the event.
killedVolumedoubleSum of tree volume (m3) killed during the event.


Seidl, R., Rammer, W., Blennow, K. 2014. Simulating wind disturbance impacts on forest landscapes: Tree-level heterogeneity matters. Environ. Model. Software 51, 1-11.

Created by werner. Last Modification: Thursday 15 of October, 2015 16:45:02 CEST by werner.