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Sara C. Pryor, Tristan J. Shepherd, Patrick J. H. Volker, Andrea N. Hahmann, and Rebecca J. Barthelmie

Abstract

High-resolution simulations are conducted with the Weather Research and Forecasting Model to evaluate the sensitivity of wake effects and power production from two wind farm parameterizations [the commonly used Fitch scheme and the more recently developed Explicit Wake Parameterization (EWP)] to the resolution at which the model is applied. The simulations are conducted for a 9-month period for a domain encompassing much of the U.S. Midwest. The two horizontal resolutions considered are 4 km × 4 km and 2 km × 2 km grid cells, and the two vertical discretizations employ either 41 or 57 vertical layers (with the latter having double the number in the lowest 1 km). Higher wind speeds are observed close to the wind turbine hub height when a larger number of vertical layers are employed (12 in the lowest 200 m vs 6), which contributes to higher power production from both wind farm schemes. Differences in gross capacity factors for wind turbine power production from the two wind farm parameterizations and with resolution are most strongly manifest under stable conditions (i.e., at night). The spatial extent of wind farm wakes when defined as the area affected by velocity deficits near to wind turbine hub heights in excess of 2% of the simulation without wind turbines is considerably larger in simulations with the Fitch scheme. This spatial extent is generally reduced by increasing the horizontal resolution and/or increasing the number of vertical levels. These results have important applications to projections of expected annual energy production from new wind turbine arrays constructed in the wind shadow from existing wind farms.

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Russell S. Vose, Scott Applequist, Mark A. Bourassa, Sara C. Pryor, Rebecca J. Barthelmie, Brian Blanton, Peter D. Bromirski, Harold E. Brooks, Arthur T. DeGaetano, Randall M. Dole, David R. Easterling, Robert E. Jensen, Thomas R. Karl, Richard W. Katz, Katherine Klink, Michael C. Kruk, Kenneth E. Kunkel, Michael C. MacCracken, Thomas C. Peterson, Karsten Shein, Bridget R. Thomas, John E. Walsh, Xiaolan L. Wang, Michael F. Wehner, Donald J. Wuebbles, and Robert S. Young

This scientific assessment examines changes in three climate extremes—extratropical storms, winds, and waves—with an emphasis on U.S. coastal regions during the cold season. There is moderate evidence of an increase in both extratropical storm frequency and intensity during the cold season in the Northern Hemisphere since 1950, with suggestive evidence of geographic shifts resulting in slight upward trends in offshore/coastal regions. There is also suggestive evidence of an increase in extreme winds (at least annually) over parts of the ocean since the early to mid-1980s, but the evidence over the U.S. land surface is inconclusive. Finally, there is moderate evidence of an increase in extreme waves in winter along the Pacific coast since the 1950s, but along other U.S. shorelines any tendencies are of modest magnitude compared with historical variability. The data for extratropical cyclones are considered to be of relatively high quality for trend detection, whereas the data for extreme winds and waves are judged to be of intermediate quality. In terms of physical causes leading to multidecadal changes, the level of understanding for both extratropical storms and extreme winds is considered to be relatively low, while that for extreme waves is judged to be intermediate. Since the ability to measure these changes with some confidence is relatively recent, understanding is expected to improve in the future for a variety of reasons, including increased periods of record and the development of “climate reanalysis” projects.

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