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Yelena L. Pichugina
,
Robert M. Banta
,
W. Alan Brewer
,
Scott P. Sandberg
, and
R. Michael Hardesty

Abstract

Accurate measurement of wind speed profiles aloft in the marine boundary layer is a difficult challenge. The development of offshore wind energy requires accurate information on wind speeds above the surface at least at the levels occupied by turbine blades. Few measured data are available at these heights, and the temporal and spatial behavior of near-surface winds is often unrepresentative of that at the required heights. As a consequence, numerical model data, another potential source of information, are essentially unverified at these levels of the atmosphere. In this paper, a motion-compensated, high-resolution Doppler lidar–based wind measurement system that is capable of providing needed information on offshore winds at several heights is described. The system has been evaluated and verified in several ways. A sampling of data from the 2004 New England Air Quality Study shows the kind of analyses and information available. Examples include time–height cross sections, time series, profiles, and distributions of quantities such as winds and shear. These analyses show that there is strong spatial and temporal variability associated with the wind field in the marine boundary layer. Winds near the coast show diurnal variations, and frequent occurrences of low-level jets are evident, especially during nocturnal periods. Persistent patterns of spatial variability in the flow field that are due to coastal irregularities should be of particular concern for wind-energy planning, because they affect the representativeness of fixed-location measurements and imply that some areas would be favored for wind-energy production whereas others would not.

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