CFD Model Estimates of the Airflow Distortion over Research Ships and the Impact on Momentum Flux Measurements

M. J. Yelland James Rennell Division for Ocean Circulation and Climate, Southampton Oceanography Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom

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B. I. Moat James Rennell Division for Ocean Circulation and Climate, Southampton Oceanography Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom

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R. W. Pascal Ocean Engineering Division, Southampton Oceanography Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom

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D. I. Berry James Rennell Division for Ocean Circulation and Climate, Southampton Oceanography Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom

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Abstract

Wind velocity and air–sea turbulent flux measurements made from shipborne instruments are biased due to the effect of the ship on the flow of air to the instruments. The presence of the ship causes the airflow to a particular instrument site to be either accelerated or decelerated, displaced vertically, and sometimes deflected slightly in the horizontal. Although recognized for some time, it is only recently that the problem has been addressed using three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models to simulate the flow over particular ships, quantify the effects of flow distortion, and hence correct the ship-based measurements. It has previously been shown that this improves the calculated momentum fluxes by removing disparities between data from different ships, or from instruments in different locations on the same ship.

This paper provides validation of the CFD model simulations. Two research ships were instrumented with multiple anemometers located in both well-exposed and badly exposed sites. Data are compared to the results of model simulations of the flow at various relative wind directions and wind speeds. Except when the anemometers are in the wake of an upwind obstruction, the model and the in situ wind speed estimates typically agree to within 2%.

Direct validation of the model-derived estimates of the vertical displacement of the flow was not possible due to the extreme difficulty of obtaining such measurements in the field. In this study, simulations of flows at 0° and 90° from the bow of the ship were made and displacements of about 1 and 5 m were found, respectively. These results were used to correct the in situ momentum flux data. In one case, the application of the different bow-on and beam-on corrections for vertical displacement successfully removed the disparity seen in the uncorrected data. In a second case, the beam-on vertical displacement overcorrected the flux results. This overcorrection could be caused either by uncertainties in the in situ estimate of the relative wind direction or by partial adjustment of the turbulence during the vertical displacement.

The effects of flow distortion are found to vary only slightly with wind speed, but are very sensitive to the relative wind direction and, if uncorrected, can cause large biases in ship-based meteorological measurements (up to 60% for the drag coefficient). Model results are given for bow-on flows over 11 research ships (American, British, Canadian, French, and German).

Corresponding author address: Dr. M. J. Yelland, James Rennell Division, Southampton Oceanography Centre, Empress Dock, Southampton SO14 3ZH, United Kingdom. Email: mjy@soc.soton.ac.uk

Abstract

Wind velocity and air–sea turbulent flux measurements made from shipborne instruments are biased due to the effect of the ship on the flow of air to the instruments. The presence of the ship causes the airflow to a particular instrument site to be either accelerated or decelerated, displaced vertically, and sometimes deflected slightly in the horizontal. Although recognized for some time, it is only recently that the problem has been addressed using three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models to simulate the flow over particular ships, quantify the effects of flow distortion, and hence correct the ship-based measurements. It has previously been shown that this improves the calculated momentum fluxes by removing disparities between data from different ships, or from instruments in different locations on the same ship.

This paper provides validation of the CFD model simulations. Two research ships were instrumented with multiple anemometers located in both well-exposed and badly exposed sites. Data are compared to the results of model simulations of the flow at various relative wind directions and wind speeds. Except when the anemometers are in the wake of an upwind obstruction, the model and the in situ wind speed estimates typically agree to within 2%.

Direct validation of the model-derived estimates of the vertical displacement of the flow was not possible due to the extreme difficulty of obtaining such measurements in the field. In this study, simulations of flows at 0° and 90° from the bow of the ship were made and displacements of about 1 and 5 m were found, respectively. These results were used to correct the in situ momentum flux data. In one case, the application of the different bow-on and beam-on corrections for vertical displacement successfully removed the disparity seen in the uncorrected data. In a second case, the beam-on vertical displacement overcorrected the flux results. This overcorrection could be caused either by uncertainties in the in situ estimate of the relative wind direction or by partial adjustment of the turbulence during the vertical displacement.

The effects of flow distortion are found to vary only slightly with wind speed, but are very sensitive to the relative wind direction and, if uncorrected, can cause large biases in ship-based meteorological measurements (up to 60% for the drag coefficient). Model results are given for bow-on flows over 11 research ships (American, British, Canadian, French, and German).

Corresponding author address: Dr. M. J. Yelland, James Rennell Division, Southampton Oceanography Centre, Empress Dock, Southampton SO14 3ZH, United Kingdom. Email: mjy@soc.soton.ac.uk

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