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Susanne Drechsel, Georg J. Mayr, Jakob W. Messner, and Reto Stauffer

Abstract

Wind speed measurements from one year from meteorological towers and wind turbines at heights between 20 and 250 m for various European sites are analyzed and are compared with operational short-term forecasts of the global ECMWF model. The measurement sites encompass a variety of terrain: offshore, coastal, flat, hilly, and mountainous regions, with low and high vegetation and also urban influences. The strongly differing site characteristics modulate the relative contribution of synoptic-scale and smaller-scale forcing to local wind conditions and thus the performance of the NWP model. The goal of this study was to determine the best-verifying model wind among various standard wind outputs and interpolation methods as well as to reveal its skill relative to the different site characteristics. Highest skill is reached by wind from a neighboring model level, as well as by linearly interpolated wind from neighboring model levels, whereas the frequently applied 10-m wind logarithmically extrapolated to higher elevations yields the largest errors. The logarithmically extrapolated 100-m model wind reaches the best compromise between availability and low cost for data even when the vertical resolution of the model changes. It is a good choice as input for further statistical postprocessing. The amplitude of measured, height-dependent diurnal variations is underestimated by the model. At low levels, the model wind speed is smaller than observed during the day and is higher during the night. At higher elevations, the opposite is the case.

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