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Melinda Marquis

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Melinda Marquis and Pam Emch

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Melinda Marquis, Jim Wilczak, Mark Ahlstrom, Justin Sharp, Andrew Stern, J. Charles Smith, and Stan Calvert

Advances in atmospheric science are critical to increased deployment of variable renewable energy (VRE) sources. For VRE sources, such as wind and solar, to reach high penetration levels in the nation's electric grid, electric system operators and VRE operators need better atmospheric observations, models, and forecasts. Improved meteorological observations through a deep layer of the atmosphere are needed for assimilation into numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. The need for improved operational NWP forecasts that can be used as inputs to power prediction models in the 0–36-h time frame is particularly urgent and more accurate predictions of rapid changes in VRE generation (ramp events) in the very short range (0–6 h) are crucial.

We describe several recent studies that investigate the feasibility of generating 20% or more of the nation's electricity from weather-dependent VRE. Next, we describe key advances in atmospheric science needed for effective development of wind energy and approaches to achieving these improvements. The financial benefit to the nation of improved wind forecasts is potentially in the billions of dollars per year. Obtaining the necessary meteorological and climatological observations and predictions is a major undertaking, requiring collaboration from the government, private, and academic sectors. We describe a field project that will begin in 2011 to improve short-term wind forecasts, which demonstrates such a collaboration, and which falls under a recent memorandum of understanding between the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the Department of Energy and the Department of Commerce/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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Irina V. Djalalova, Joseph Olson, Jacob R. Carley, Laura Bianco, James M. Wilczak, Yelena Pichugina, Robert Banta, Melinda Marquis, and Joel Cline

Abstract

During the summer of 2004 a network of 11 wind profiling radars (WPRs) was deployed in New England as part of the New England Air Quality Study (NEAQS). Observations from this dataset are used to determine their impact on numerical weather prediction (NWP) model skill at simulating coastal and offshore winds through data-denial experiments. This study is a part of the Position of Offshore Wind Energy Resources (POWER) experiment, a Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored project that uses National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) models for two 1-week periods to measure the impact of the assimilation of observations from 11 inland WPRs. Model simulations with and without assimilation of the WPR data are compared at the locations of the inland WPRs, as well as against observations from an additional WPR and a high-resolution Doppler lidar (HRDL) located on board the Research Vessel Ronald H. Brown (RHB), which cruised the Gulf of Maine during the NEAQS experiment. Model evaluation in the lowest 2 km above the ground shows a positive impact of the WPR data assimilation from the initialization time through the next five to six forecast hours at the WPR locations for 12 of 15 days analyzed, when offshore winds prevailed. A smaller positive impact at the RHB ship track was also confirmed. For the remaining three days, during which time there was a cyclone event with strong onshore wind flow, the assimilation of additional observations had a negative impact on model skill. Explanations for the negative impact are offered.

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James Wilczak, Cathy Finley, Jeff Freedman, Joel Cline, Laura Bianco, Joseph Olson, Irina Djalalova, Lindsay Sheridan, Mark Ahlstrom, John Manobianco, John Zack, Jacob R. Carley, Stan Benjamin, Richard Coulter, Larry K. Berg, Jeffrey Mirocha, Kirk Clawson, Edward Natenberg, and Melinda Marquis

Abstract

The Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP) is a public–private research program, the goal of which is to improve the accuracy of short-term (0–6 h) wind power forecasts for the wind energy industry. WFIP was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), with partners that included the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), private forecasting companies (WindLogics and AWS Truepower), DOE national laboratories, grid operators, and universities. WFIP employed two avenues for improving wind power forecasts: first, through the collection of special observations to be assimilated into forecast models and, second, by upgrading NWP forecast models and ensembles. The new observations were collected during concurrent year-long field campaigns in two high wind energy resource areas of the United States (the upper Great Plains and Texas) and included 12 wind profiling radars, 12 sodars, several lidars and surface flux stations, 184 instrumented tall towers, and over 400 nacelle anemometers. Results demonstrate that a substantial reduction (12%–5% for forecast hours 1–12) in power RMSE was achieved from the combination of improved numerical weather prediction models and assimilation of new observations, equivalent to the previous decade’s worth of improvements found for low-level winds in NOAA/National Weather Service (NWS) operational weather forecast models. Data-denial experiments run over select periods of time demonstrate that up to a 6% improvement came from the new observations. Ensemble forecasts developed by the private sector partners also produced significant improvements in power production and ramp prediction. Based on the success of WFIP, DOE is planning follow-on field programs.

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William J. Shaw, Larry K. Berg, Joel Cline, Caroline Draxl, Irina Djalalova, Eric P. Grimit, Julie K. Lundquist, Melinda Marquis, Jim McCaa, Joseph B. Olson, Chitra Sivaraman, Justin Sharp, and James M. Wilczak

Abstract

In 2015 the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) initiated a 4-yr study, the Second Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP2), to improve the representation of boundary layer physics and related processes in mesoscale models for better treatment of scales applicable to wind and wind power forecasts. This goal challenges numerical weather prediction (NWP) models in complex terrain in large part because of inherent assumptions underlying their boundary layer parameterizations. The WFIP2 effort involved the wind industry, universities, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the DOE’s national laboratories in an integrated observational and modeling study. Observations spanned 18 months to assure a full annual cycle of continuously recorded observations from remote sensing and in situ measurement systems. The study area comprised the Columbia basin of eastern Washington and Oregon, containing more than 6 GW of installed wind capacity. Nests of observational systems captured important atmospheric scales from mesoscale to NWP subgrid scale. Model improvements targeted NOAA’s High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model to facilitate transfer of improvements to National Weather Service (NWS) operational forecast models, and these modifications have already yielded quantitative improvements for the short-term operational forecasts. This paper describes the general WFIP2 scope and objectives, the particular scientific challenges of improving wind forecasts in complex terrain, early successes of the project, and an integrated approach to archiving observations and model output. It provides an introduction for a set of more detailed BAMS papers addressing WFIP2 observational science, modeling challenges and solutions, incorporation of forecasting uncertainty into decision support tools for the wind industry, and advances in coupling improved mesoscale models to microscale models that can represent interactions between wind plants and the atmosphere.

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Yelena L. Pichugina, Robert M. Banta, Joseph B. Olson, Jacob R. Carley, Melinda C. Marquis, W. Alan Brewer, James M. Wilczak, Irina Djalalova, Laura Bianco, Eric P. James, Stanley G. Benjamin, and Joel Cline

Abstract

Evaluation of model skill in predicting winds over the ocean was performed by comparing retrospective runs of numerical weather prediction (NWP) forecast models to shipborne Doppler lidar measurements in the Gulf of Maine, a potential region for U.S. coastal wind farm development. Deployed on board the NOAA R/V Ronald H. Brown during a 2004 field campaign, the high-resolution Doppler lidar (HRDL) provided accurate motion-compensated wind measurements from the water surface up through several hundred meters of the marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL). The quality and resolution of the HRDL data allow detailed analysis of wind flow at heights within the rotor layer of modern wind turbines and data on other critical variables to be obtained, such as wind speed and direction shear, turbulence, low-level jet properties, ramp events, and many other wind-energy-relevant aspects of the flow. This study will focus on the quantitative validation of NWP models’ wind forecasts within the lower MABL by comparison with HRDL measurements. Validation of two modeling systems rerun in special configurations for these 2004 cases—the hourly updated Rapid Refresh (RAP) system and a special hourly updated version of the North American Mesoscale Forecast System [NAM Rapid Refresh (NAMRR)]—are presented. These models were run at both normal-resolution (RAP, 13 km; NAMRR, 12 km) and high-resolution versions: the NAMRR-CONUS-nest (4 km) and the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR, 3 km). Each model was run twice: with (experimental runs) and without (control runs) assimilation of data from 11 wind profiling radars located along the U.S. East Coast. The impact of the additional assimilation of the 11 profilers was estimated by comparing HRDL data to modeled winds from both runs. The results obtained demonstrate the importance of high-resolution lidar measurements to validate NWP models and to better understand what atmospheric conditions may impact the accuracy of wind forecasts in the marine atmospheric boundary layer. Results of this research will also provide a first guess as to the uncertainties of wind resource assessment using NWP models in one of the U.S. offshore areas projected for wind plant development.

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Robert M. Banta, Yelena L. Pichugina, W. Alan Brewer, Eric P. James, Joseph B. Olson, Stanley G. Benjamin, Jacob R. Carley, Laura Bianco, Irina V. Djalalova, James M. Wilczak, R. Michael Hardesty, Joel Cline, and Melinda C. Marquis

Abstract

To advance the understanding of meteorological processes in offshore coastal regions, the spatial variability of wind profiles must be characterized and uncertainties (errors) in NWP model wind forecasts quantified. These gaps are especially critical for the new offshore wind energy industry, where wind profile measurements in the marine atmospheric layer spanned by wind turbine rotor blades, generally 50–200 m above mean sea level (MSL), have been largely unavailable. Here, high-quality wind profile measurements were available every 15 min from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Earth System Research Laboratory (NOAA/ESRL)’s high-resolution Doppler lidar (HRDL) during a monthlong research cruise in the Gulf of Maine for the 2004 New England Air Quality Study. These measurements were compared with retrospective NWP model wind forecasts over the area using two NOAA forecast-modeling systems [North American Mesoscale Forecast System (NAM) and Rapid Refresh (RAP)]. HRDL profile measurements quantified model errors, including their dependence on height above sea level, diurnal cycle, and forecast lead time. Typical model wind speed errors were ∼2.5 m s−1, and vector-wind errors were ∼4 m s−1. Short-term forecast errors were larger near the surface—30% larger below 100 m than above and largest for several hours after local midnight (biased low). Longer-term, 12-h forecasts had the largest errors after local sunset (biased high). At more than 3-h lead times, predictions from finer-resolution models exhibited larger errors. Horizontal variability of winds, measured as the ship traversed the Gulf of Maine, was significant and raised questions about whether modeled fields, which appeared smooth in comparison, were capturing this variability. If not, horizontal arrays of high-quality, vertical-profiling devices will be required for wind energy resource assessment offshore. Such measurement arrays are also needed to improve NWP models.

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Theodore M. McHardy, James R. Campbell, David A. Peterson, Simone Lolli, Richard L. Bankert, Anne Garnier, Arunas P. Kuciauskas, Melinda L. Surratt, Jared W. Marquis, Steven D. Miller, Erica K. Dolinar, and Xiquan Dong

Abstract

We describe a quantitative evaluation of maritime transparent cirrus cloud detection, which is based on Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite – 16 (GOES-16) and developed with collocated Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) profiling. The detection algorithm is developed using one month of collocated GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) Channel 4 (1.378 μm) radiance and CALIOP 0.532 μm column-integrated cloud optical depth (COD). First, the relationships between the clear-sky 1.378 μm radiance, viewing/solar geometry, and precipitable water vapor (PWV) are characterized. Using machine learning techniques, it is shown that the total atmospheric pathlength, proxied by airmass factor (AMF), is a suitable replacement for viewing zenith and solar zenith angles alone, and that PWV is not a significant problem over ocean. Detection thresholds are computed using the Ch. 4 radiance as a function of AMF. The algorithm detects nearly 50% of sub-visual cirrus (COD < 0.03), 80% of transparent cirrus (0.03 < COD < 0.3), and 90% of opaque cirrus (COD > 0.3). Using a conservative radiance threshold results in 84% of cloudy pixels being correctly identified and 4% of clear-sky pixels being misidentified as cirrus. A semi-quantitative COD retrieval is developed for GOES ABI based on the observed relationship between CALIOP COD and 1.378 μm radiance. This study lays the groundwork for a more complex, operational GOES transparent cirrus detection algorithm. Future expansion includes an over-land algorithm, a more robust COD retrieval that is suitable for assimilation purposes, and downstream GOES products such as cirrus cloud microphysical property retrieval based on ABI infrared channels.

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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.

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