Can Satellite Sampling of Offshore Wind Speeds Realistically Represent Wind Speed Distributions?

R. J. Barthelmie Department of Wind Energy and Atmospheric Physics, Risø National Laboratory, Roskilde, Denmark, and Atmospheric Science Program, Department of Geography, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

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S. C. Pryor Atmospheric Science Program, Department of Geography, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, and Department of Wind Energy and Atmospheric Physics, Risø National Laboratory, Roskilde, Denmark

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Abstract

Wind speeds over the oceans are required for a range of applications but are difficult to obtain through in situ methods. Hence, remote sensing tools, which also offer the possibility of describing spatial variability, represent an attractive proposition. However, the uncertainties inherent in application of current remote sensing methodologies have yet to be fully quantified. Aside from known issues regarding absolute accuracy and precision, there are a number of biases inherent in remote retrieval of wind speeds using satellite-borne instrumentation that lead to overestimation of the wind resource and are demonstrated here to be of sufficient magnitude to merit further consideration. As an interim measure, error bounds are proposed for the wind speed probability distribution parameters, which may be applied to sparse datasets such as those likely to be obtained from satellite-borne instrumentation.

Corresponding author address: Dr. R. J. Barthelmie, Dept. of Wind Energy and Atmospheric Physics, Risø National Laboratory, 399 Frederiksborgvej, Roskilde DK-4000, Denmark. r.barthelmie@risoe.dk

Abstract

Wind speeds over the oceans are required for a range of applications but are difficult to obtain through in situ methods. Hence, remote sensing tools, which also offer the possibility of describing spatial variability, represent an attractive proposition. However, the uncertainties inherent in application of current remote sensing methodologies have yet to be fully quantified. Aside from known issues regarding absolute accuracy and precision, there are a number of biases inherent in remote retrieval of wind speeds using satellite-borne instrumentation that lead to overestimation of the wind resource and are demonstrated here to be of sufficient magnitude to merit further consideration. As an interim measure, error bounds are proposed for the wind speed probability distribution parameters, which may be applied to sparse datasets such as those likely to be obtained from satellite-borne instrumentation.

Corresponding author address: Dr. R. J. Barthelmie, Dept. of Wind Energy and Atmospheric Physics, Risø National Laboratory, 399 Frederiksborgvej, Roskilde DK-4000, Denmark. r.barthelmie@risoe.dk

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