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Merete Badger, Alfredo Peña, Andrea N. Hahmann, Alexis A. Mouche, and Charlotte B. Hasager

Abstract

Ocean wind retrievals from satellite sensors are typically performed for the standard level of 10 m. This restricts their full exploitation for wind energy planning, which requires wind information at much higher levels where wind turbines operate. A new method is presented for the vertical extrapolation of satellite-based wind maps. Winds near the sea surface are obtained from satellite data and used together with an adaptation of the Monin–Obukhov similarity theory to estimate the wind speed at higher levels. The thermal stratification of the atmosphere is taken into account through a long-term stability correction that is based on numerical weather prediction (NWP) model outputs. The effect of the long-term stability correction on the wind profile is significant. The method is applied to Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar scenes acquired over the south Baltic Sea. This leads to maps of the long-term stability correction and wind speed at a height of 100 m with a spatial resolution of 0.02°. Calculations of the corresponding wind power density and Weibull parameters are shown. Comparisons with mast observations reveal that NWP model outputs can correct successfully for long-term stability effects and also, to some extent, for the limited number of satellite samples. The satellite-based and NWP-simulated wind profiles are almost equally accurate with respect to those from the mast. However, the satellite-based maps have a higher spatial resolution, which is particularly important in nearshore areas where most offshore wind farms are built.

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N. Reul, B. Chapron, E. Zabolotskikh, C. Donlon, A. Mouche, J. Tenerelli, F. Collard, J. F. Piolle, A. Fore, S. Yueh, J. Cotton, P. Francis, Y. Quilfen, and V. Kudryavtsev

Abstract

Wind radii estimates in tropical cyclones (TCs) are crucial to helping determine the TC wind structure for the production of effective warnings and to constrain initial conditions for a number of applications. In that context, we report on the capabilities of a new generation of satellite microwave radiometers operating at L-band frequency (∼1.4 GHz) and dual C band (∼6.9 and 7.3 GHz). These radiometers provide wide-swath (>1,000 km) coverage at a spatial resolution of ∼40 km and revisit of ∼3 days. The L-band measurements are almost unaffected by rain and atmospheric effects, while dual C-band data offer an efficient way to significantly minimize these impacts. During storm conditions, increasing foam coverage and thickness at the ocean surface sufficiently modify the surface emissivity at these frequencies and, in turn, the brightness temperature (Tb) measurements. Based on aircraft measurements, new geophysical model functions have been derived to infer reliable ocean surface wind speeds from measured Tb variations. Data from these sensors collected over 2010–15 are shown to provide reliable estimates of the gale-force (34 kt), damaging (50 kt), and destructive winds (64 kt) within the best track wind radii uncertainty. Combined, and further associated with other available observations, these measurements can now provide regular quantitative and complementary surface wind information of interest for operational TC forecasting operations.

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