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Brian D. Hirth and John L. Schroeder

Abstract

High-spatial-and-temporal-resolution radial velocity measurements surrounding a single utility-scale wind turbine were collected using the Texas Tech University Ka-band mobile research radars. The measurements were synthesized to construct the first known dual-Doppler analyses of the mean structure and variability of a single turbine wake. The observations revealed a wake length that subjectively exceeded 20 rotor diameters, which far exceeds the typically employed turbine spacing of 7–10 rotor diameters. The mean horizontal wind speed deficits found within the turbine wake region relative to the free streamflow were related to potential reductions in the available power for a downwind turbine. Mean wind speed reductions of 17.4% (14.8%) were found at 7 (10) rotor diameters downwind, corresponding to a potential power output reduction of 43.6% (38.2%). The wind speed deficits found within the wake also exhibit large variability over short time intervals; this variability would have an appreciable impact on the inflow of a downstream turbine. The full understanding and application of these newly collected data have the potential to alter current wind-farm design and layout practices and to affect the cost of energy.

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W. Scott Gunter, John L. Schroeder, and Brian D. Hirth

Abstract

Typical methods used to acquire wind profiles from Doppler radar measurements rely on plan position indicator (PPI) scans being performed at multiple elevation angles to utilize the velocity–azimuth display technique or to construct dual-Doppler synthesis. These techniques, as well as those employed by wind profilers, often produce wind profiles that lack the spatial or temporal resolution to resolve finescale features. If two radars perform range–height indicator (RHI) scans (constant azimuth, multiple elevations) along azimuths separated by approximately 90°, then the intersection of the coordinated RHI planes represents a vertical set of points where dual-Doppler wind syntheses are possible and wind speed and direction profiles can be retrieved. This method also allows for the generation of high-resolution wind time histories that can be compared to anemometer time histories. This study focuses on the use of the coordinated RHI scanning strategy by two high-resolution mobile Doppler radars in close proximity to a 200-m instrumented tower. In one of the first high-resolution, long-duration comparisons of dual-Doppler wind synthesis with in situ anemometry, the mean and turbulence states of the wind measured by each platform were compared in varying atmospheric conditions. Examination of mean wind speed and direction profiles in both clear-air (nonprecipitating) and precipitating environments revealed excellent agreement above approximately 50 m. Below this level, dual-Doppler wind speeds were still good but slightly overestimated as compared to the anemometer-measured wind speeds in heavy precipitation. Bulk turbulence parameters were also slightly underestimated by the dual-Doppler syntheses.

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Jeffrey R. Beck, John L. Schroeder, and Joshua M. Wurman

Abstract

On 29 May 2001, Doppler on Wheels radars collected data on a supercell near Kress, Texas. The supercellular storm, cyclic in nature, produced multiple mesocyclones throughout its lifetime. Dual-Doppler syntheses were conducted using a grid spacing of 100 m, resulting in the highest-resolution observational analysis of a cyclic supercell to date. In addition, collection of data from ground-based radar allowed for the analysis of near-ground features irresolvable with airborne radar, providing another advantage over previous studies. The syntheses revealed a number of evolving low-level mesocyclones over the observation period of 900 s. While nontornadic during the synthesis period, the supercell exhibited evidence of strong (vertical vorticity greater than 10−2 s−1) low-level circulation with classic cyclic structure and multiple tornadoes beginning 3600 s later. A comparison between the current results, conceptual models, and previous lower-resolution analyses is presented. A striking similarity exists between the cyclic evolution of the Kress storm during the synthesis time period and other previous cyclic conceptual models. However, differences did exist between the Kress storm and previously studied tornadic storms. Analysis showed that the rear-flank downdraft provided the only surface boundary associated with low-level mesocyclogenesis. Other characteristics, including forward-flank gust front structure and the orientation of low-level horizontal vorticity, also differed. In addition, there was a general lack of surface convergence associated with the forward-flank reflectivity gradient, yet convergence associated with the forward-flank gust front increased with height. Finally, a large component of crosswise horizontal vorticity was found to exist throughout the supercell environment, within both the inflow and outflow. Incorporating these differences, an attempt was made to identify possible mechanisms responsible for the lack of tornadogenesis during the synthesis time period.

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James B. Duncan Jr., Brian D. Hirth, and John L. Schroeder

Abstract

Remote sensing instruments that scan have the ability to provide high-resolution spatial measurements of atmospheric boundary layer winds across a region. However, the time required to collect the volume of measurements used to produce this spatial representation of atmospheric winds typically limits the extraction of atmospheric turbulence information using traditional temporal analysis techniques. To overcome this constraint, a spatial turbulence intensity (STI) metric was developed to quantify atmospheric turbulence intensity (TI) through analysis of spatial wind field variability. The methods used to determine STI can be applied throughout the measurement domain to transform the spatially distributed velocity fields to analogous measurement maps of STI. This method enables a comprehensive spatial characterization of atmospheric TI. STI efficacy was examined across a range of wind speeds and atmospheric stability regimes using both single- and dual-Doppler measurements. STI demonstrated the ability to capture rapid fluctuations in TI and was able to discern large-scale TI trends consistent with the early evening transition. The ability to spatially depict atmospheric TI could benefit a variety of research disciplines such as the wind energy industry, where an understanding of wind plant complex flow spatiotemporal variability is limited.

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Ian M. Giammanco, John L. Schroeder, and Mark D. Powell

Abstract

The characteristics of tropical cyclone vertical wind profiles and their associated wind speed peaks below 1.5 km were examined through the use of a large number of GPS dropwindsondes (GPS sondes) and radar-derived velocity–azimuth display (VAD) profiles. Composite wind profiles were generated to document the mean structure of tropical cyclone vertical wind profiles and their changes with storm-relative position. Composite profiles were observed to change as the radius decreased inward toward the radius of maximum winds. Profiles also varied between three azimuthal sectors. At landfall, wind profiles exhibited changes with radial distance and differences were observed between those within offshore and onshore flow regimes. The observations support a general reduction in boundary layer depth with decreasing radial distance. Wind profiles with peaks at low altitudes were typically confined to radii less than 60 km, near and radially inward from the radius of maximum winds. Wind speed maxima, when scaled by a layer mean wind, decreased in magnitude as the radius decreased. At landfall, composite profiles showed a distinct low-level wind speed maximum in the eyewall region with significant differences between the onshore and offshore flow regimes.

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Brian C. Ancell, Erin Kashawlic, and John L. Schroeder

Abstract

The U.S. Department of Energy Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP) has recently been completed with the aim of 1) understanding the performance of different mesoscale data assimilation systems for lower-atmospheric wind prediction and 2) determining the observation impacts on wind forecasts within the different assimilation systems. Here an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) was tested against a three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3DVAR) technique. Forecasts lasting 24 hours were produced for a month-long period to determine the day-to-day performance of each system, as well as over 10 individual wind ramp cases. The observation impacts from surface mesonet and profiler/sodar wind observations aloft were also tested in each system for both the month-long run and the ramp forecasts.

It was found that EnKF forecasts verified over a domain including Texas and Oklahoma were better than those of 3DVAR for the month-long experiment throughout the forecast window, presumably from the use of flow-dependent covariances in the EnKF. The assimilation of mesonet data improved both EnKF and 3DVAR early forecasts, but sodar/profiler data showed a degradation (EnKF) or had no effect (3DVAR), with the degradation apparently resulting from a lower-atmospheric wind bias. For the wind ramp forecasts, ensemble averaging appears to overwhelm any improvements flow-dependent assimilation may have on ramp forecasts, leading to better 3DVAR ramp prediction. This suggests that best member techniques within the EnKF may be necessary for improved performance over 3DVAR for forecasts of sharp features such as wind ramps. Observation impacts from mesonet and profiler/sodar observations generally improved EnKF ramp forecasts, but either had little effect on or degraded 3DVAR forecasts.

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Sylvie Lorsolo, John L. Schroeder, Peter Dodge, and Frank Marks Jr.

Abstract

Data with high temporal and spatial resolution from Hurricanes Isabel (2003) and Frances (2004) were analyzed to provide a detailed study of near-surface linear structures with subkilometer wavelengths of the hurricane boundary layer (HBL). The analysis showed that the features were omnipresent throughout the data collection, displayed a horizontal and vertical coherency, and maintained an average orientation of 7° left of the low-level wind. A unique objective wavelength analysis was conducted, where wavelength was defined as the distance between two wind maxima or minima perpendicular to the features’ long axis, and revealed that although wavelengths as large as 1400 m were observed, the majority of the features had wavelengths between 200 and 650 m. The assessed wavelengths differ from those documented in a recent observational study. To evaluate the correlation between the features and the underlying near-surface wind field, time and spectral analyses were completed and ground-relative frequency distributions of the features were retrieved. High-energy regions of the power spectral density (PSD) determined from near-surface data were collocated with the features’ ground-relative frequency, illustrating that the features have an influence on the near-surface wind field. The additional energy found in the low-frequency range of the PSDs was previously identified as characteristic of the hurricane surface flow, suggesting that the features are an integral component of the HBL flow.

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Brian D. Hirth, John L. Schroeder, and Christopher C. Weiss

Abstract

The rear-flank downdraft regions of two tornadic supercells were sampled on 12 June 2004 and 9 June 2005 using four “mobile mesonet” probes. These rear-flank downdraft outflows were sampled employing two different data collection routines; therefore, each case is described from a different perspective. The data samples were examined to identify variations in measured surface equivalent potential temperature, virtual potential temperature, and kinematics. In the 12 June 2004 case, the tornadic circulation was accompanied by small equivalent potential temperature deficits within the rear-flank downdraft outflow early in its life followed by increasing deficits with time. Virtual potential temperature deficits modestly increased through the duration of the sample as well. The 9 June 2005 case was highlighted by heavy precipitation near the tornado itself and relatively small negative, or even positive, equivalent and virtual potential temperature perturbations. Large horizontal variations of surface thermodynamic properties were also noted within several regions of this rear-flank downdraft outflow.

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Patrick S. Skinner, Christopher C. Weiss, John L. Schroeder, Louis J. Wicker, and Michael I. Biggerstaff

Abstract

In situ data collected within a weakly tornadic, high-precipitation supercell occurring on 23 May 2007 near Perryton, Texas, are presented. Data were collected using a recently developed fleet of 22 durable, rapidly deployable probes dubbed “StickNet” as well as four mobile mesonet probes. Kinematic and thermodynamic observations of boundaries within the supercell are described in tandem with an analysis of data from the Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching Radar.

Observations within the rear-flank downdraft of the storm exhibit large deficits of both virtual potential temperature and equivalent potential temperature, with a secondary rear-flank downdraft gust front trailing the mesocyclone. A primarily thermodynamic boundary resided across the forward-flank reflectivity gradient of the supercell. This boundary is characterized by small deficits in virtual potential temperature coupled with positive perturbations of equivalent potential temperature. The opposing thermodynamic perturbations appear to be representative of modified storm inflow, with a flux of water vapor responsible for the positive perturbations of the equivalent potential temperature. Air parcels exhibiting negative perturbations of virtual potential temperature and positive perturbations of equivalent potential temperature have the ability to be a source of both baroclinically generated streamwise horizontal vorticity and greater potential buoyancy if ingested by the low-level mesocyclone.

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Brian D. Hirth, John L. Schroeder, W. Scott Gunter, and Jerry G. Guynes

Abstract

Observations of the wake generated by a single utility-scale turbine and collected by the Texas Tech University Ka-band mobile research radars on 27 October 2011 are introduced. Remotely sensed turbine wake observations using lidar technology have proven effective; however, the presented radar capabilities provide a larger observational footprint and greater along-beam resolution than current scanning lidar systems. Plan-position indicator and range–height indicator scanning techniques are utilized to produce various wake analyses. Preliminary analyses confirm radial velocity and wind speed deficits immediately downwind of the turbine hub to be on the order of 50%. This introduction lays the groundwork for more in-depth analyses of wake structure and evolution using the Texas Tech University Ka-band radar systems, including wake meandering and wake-to-wake interaction in large wind park deployments.

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