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Paul Schroeder, W. Alan Brewer, Aditya Choukulkar, Ann Weickmann, Michael Zucker, Maxwell W. Holloway, and Scott Sandberg

Abstract

This work details a master oscillator power amplifier (MOPA) microjoule-class pulsed coherent Doppler lidar system configuration designed to measure line-of-sight wind velocities and backscatter intensity of atmospheric aerosols. The instrument is unique in its form factor. It consists of two physically separated modules connected by a 10 m umbilical cable. One module hosts the transceiver, which is composed of the telescope, transmit/receive (T/R) switch, and high-gain optical amplifier, and is housed in a small box (34.3 cm × 34.3 cm × 17.8 cm). The second module contains the data acquisition system and several electro-optical components. This form factor enables deployments on platforms that are otherwise inaccessible by commercial and research instruments of similar design. In this work, optical, electrical, and data acquisition components and configurations of the lidar are detailed and two example deployments are presented. The first deployment describes measurements of a controlled wildfire burn from a small aircraft to measure vertical plume dynamics and fire inflow conditions during summer in Florida. The second presents measurements of the marine boundary layer height and vertical velocity and variance profiles from the Research Vessel (R/V) Thomas Thompson. The new instrument has enabled greater flexibility in field campaigns where previous instruments would have been too costly or space prohibitive to deploy.

Open access
Robert M. Banta, Yelena L. Pichugina, W. Alan Brewer, Aditya Choukulkar, Kathleen O. Lantz, Joseph B. Olson, Jaymes Kenyon, Harindra J. S. Fernando, Raghu Krishnamurthy, Mark J. Stoelinga, Justin Sharp, Lisa S. Darby, David D. Turner, Sunil Baidar, and Scott P. Sandberg

Abstract

Ground-based Doppler-lidar instrumentation provides atmospheric wind data at dramatically improved accuracies and spatial/temporal resolutions. These capabilities have provided new insights into atmospheric flow phenomena, but they also should have a strong role in NWP model improvement. Insight into the nature of model errors can be gained by studying recurrent atmospheric flows, here a regional summertime diurnal sea breeze and subsequent marine-air intrusion into the arid interior of Oregon–Washington, where these winds are an important wind-energy resource. These marine intrusions were sampled by three scanning Doppler lidars in the Columbia River basin as part of the Second Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP2), using data from summer 2016. Lidar time–height cross sections of wind speed identified 8 days when the diurnal flow cycle (peak wind speeds at midnight, afternoon minima) was obvious and strong. The 8-day composite time–height cross sections of lidar wind speeds are used to validate those generated by the operational NCEP–HRRR model. HRRR simulated the diurnal wind cycle, but produced errors in the timing of onset and significant errors due to a premature nighttime demise of the intrusion flow, producing low-bias errors of 6 m s−1. Day-to-day and in the composite, whenever a marine intrusion occurred, HRRR made these same errors. The errors occurred under a range of gradient wind conditions indicating that they resulted from the misrepresentation of physical processes within a limited region around the measurement locations. Because of their generation within a limited geographical area, field measurement programs can be designed to find and address the sources of these NWP errors.

Free access
Irina V. Djalalova, Laura Bianco, Elena Akish, James M. Wilczak, Joseph B. Olson, Jaymes S. Kenyon, Larry K. Berg, Aditya Choukulkar, Richard Coulter, Harinda J. S. Fernando, Eric Grimit, Raghavendra Krishnamurthy, Julie K. Lundquist, Paytsar Muradyan, David D. Turner, and Sonia Wharton

Abstract

The second Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP2) is a multiagency field campaign held in the Columbia Gorge area (October 2015–March 2017). The main goal of the project is to understand and improve the forecast skill of numerical weather prediction (NWP) models in complex terrain, particularly beneficial for the wind energy industry. This region is well known for its excellent wind resource. One of the biggest challenges for wind power production is the accurate forecasting of wind ramp events (large changes of generated power over short periods of time). Poor forecasting of the ramps requires large and sudden adjustments in conventional power generation, ultimately increasing the costs of power. A Ramp Tool and Metric (RT&M) was developed during the first WFIP experiment, held in the U.S. Great Plains (September 2011–August 2012). The RT&M was designed to explicitly measure the skill of NWP models at forecasting wind ramp events. Here we apply the RT&M to 80-m (turbine hub-height) wind speeds measured by 19 sodars and three lidars, and to forecasts from the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR), 3-km, and from the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh Nest (HRRRNEST), 750-m horizontal grid spacing, models. The diurnal and seasonal distribution of ramp events are analyzed, finding a noticeable diurnal variability for spring and summer but less for fall and especially winter. Also, winter has fewer ramps compared to the other seasons. The model skill at forecasting ramp events, including the impact of the modification to the model physical parameterizations, was finally investigated.

Restricted access
Joseph B. Olson, Jaymes S. Kenyon, Irina Djalalova, Laura Bianco, David D. Turner, Yelena Pichugina, Aditya Choukulkar, Michael D. Toy, John M. Brown, Wayne M. Angevine, Elena Akish, Jian-Wen Bao, Pedro Jimenez, Branko Kosovic, Katherine A. Lundquist, Caroline Draxl, Julie K. Lundquist, Jim McCaa, Katherine McCaffrey, Kathy Lantz, Chuck Long, Jim Wilczak, Robert Banta, Melinda Marquis, Stephanie Redfern, Larry K. Berg, Will Shaw, and Joel Cline

Abstract

The primary goal of the Second Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP2) is to advance the state-of-the-art of wind energy forecasting in complex terrain. To achieve this goal, a comprehensive 18-month field measurement campaign was conducted in the region of the Columbia River basin. The observations were used to diagnose and quantify systematic forecast errors in the operational High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model during weather events of particular concern to wind energy forecasting. Examples of such events are cold pools, gap flows, thermal troughs/marine pushes, mountain waves, and topographic wakes. WFIP2 model development has focused on the boundary layer and surface-layer schemes, cloud–radiation interaction, the representation of drag associated with subgrid-scale topography, and the representation of wind farms in the HRRR. Additionally, refinements to numerical methods have helped to improve some of the common forecast error modes, especially the high wind speed biases associated with early erosion of mountain–valley cold pools. This study describes the model development and testing undertaken during WFIP2 and demonstrates forecast improvements. Specifically, WFIP2 found that mean absolute errors in rotor-layer wind speed forecasts could be reduced by 5%–20% in winter by improving the turbulent mixing lengths, horizontal diffusion, and gravity wave drag. The model improvements made in WFIP2 are also shown to be applicable to regions outside of complex terrain. Ongoing and future challenges in model development will also be discussed.

Full access
James M. Wilczak, Mark Stoelinga, Larry K. Berg, Justin Sharp, Caroline Draxl, Katherine McCaffrey, Robert M. Banta, Laura Bianco, Irina Djalalova, Julie K. Lundquist, Paytsar Muradyan, Aditya Choukulkar, Laura Leo, Timothy Bonin, Yelena Pichugina, Richard Eckman, Charles N. Long, Kathleen Lantz, Rochelle P. Worsnop, Jim Bickford, Nicola Bodini, Duli Chand, Andrew Clifton, Joel Cline, David R. Cook, Harindra J. S. Fernando, Katja Friedrich, Raghavendra Krishnamurthy, Melinda Marquis, Jim McCaa, Joseph B. Olson, Sebastian Otarola-Bustos, George Scott, William J. Shaw, Sonia Wharton, and Allen B. White

Abstract

The Second Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP2) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)- and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-funded program, with private-sector and university partners, which aims to improve the accuracy of numerical weather prediction (NWP) model forecasts of wind speed in complex terrain for wind energy applications. A core component of WFIP2 was an 18-month field campaign that took place in the U.S. Pacific Northwest between October 2015 and March 2017. A large suite of instrumentation was deployed in a series of telescoping arrays, ranging from 500 km across to a densely instrumented 2 km × 2 km area similar in size to a high-resolution NWP model grid cell. Observations from these instruments are being used to improve our understanding of the meteorological phenomena that affect wind energy production in complex terrain and to evaluate and improve model physical parameterization schemes. We present several brief case studies using these observations to describe phenomena that are routinely difficult to forecast, including wintertime cold pools, diurnally driven gap flows, and mountain waves/wakes. Observing system and data product improvements developed during WFIP2 are also described.

Open access
Julie K. Lundquist, James M. Wilczak, Ryan Ashton, Laura Bianco, W. Alan Brewer, Aditya Choukulkar, Andrew Clifton, Mithu Debnath, Ruben Delgado, Katja Friedrich, Scott Gunter, Armita Hamidi, Giacomo Valerio Iungo, Aleya Kaushik, Branko Kosović, Patrick Langan, Adam Lass, Evan Lavin, Joseph C.-Y. Lee, Katherine L. McCaffrey, Rob K. Newsom, David C. Noone, Steven P. Oncley, Paul T. Quelet, Scott P. Sandberg, John L. Schroeder, William J. Shaw, Lynn Sparling, Clara St. Martin, Alexandra St. Pe, Edward Strobach, Ken Tay, Brian J. Vanderwende, Ann Weickmann, Daniel Wolfe, and Rochelle Worsnop

Abstract

To assess current capabilities for measuring flow within the atmospheric boundary layer, including within wind farms, the U.S. Department of Energy sponsored the eXperimental Planetary boundary layer Instrumentation Assessment (XPIA) campaign at the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory (BAO) in spring 2015. Herein, we summarize the XPIA field experiment, highlight novel measurement approaches, and quantify uncertainties associated with these measurement methods. Line-of-sight velocities measured by scanning lidars and radars exhibit close agreement with tower measurements, despite differences in measurement volumes. Virtual towers of wind measurements, from multiple lidars or radars, also agree well with tower and profiling lidar measurements. Estimates of winds over volumes from scanning lidars and radars are in close agreement, enabling the assessment of spatial variability. Strengths of the radar systems used here include high scan rates, large domain coverage, and availability during most precipitation events, but they struggle at times to provide data during periods with limited atmospheric scatterers. In contrast, for the deployment geometry tested here, the lidars have slower scan rates and less range but provide more data during nonprecipitating atmospheric conditions. Microwave radiometers provide temperature profiles with approximately the same uncertainty as radio acoustic sounding systems (RASS). Using a motion platform, we assess motion-compensation algorithms for lidars to be mounted on offshore platforms. Finally, we highlight cases for validation of mesoscale or large-eddy simulations, providing information on accessing the archived dataset. We conclude that modern remote sensing systems provide a generational improvement in observational capabilities, enabling the resolution of finescale processes critical to understanding inhomogeneous boundary layer flows.

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