Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 3 of 3 items for

  • Author or Editor: Sara C. Pryor x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Jacob Coburn and Sara C. Pryor


Wind gusts, and in particular intense gusts, are societally relevant but extremely challenging to forecast. This study systematically assesses the skill enhancement that can be achieved using artificial neural networks (ANNs) for forecasting of wind gust occurrence and magnitude. Geophysical predictors from the ERA5 reanalysis are used in conjunction with an autoregressive term in regression and ANN models with different predictors, and varying model complexity. Models are derived and assessed for the warm (April–September) and cold (October–March) seasons for three high passenger volume airports in the United States. Model uncertainty is assessed by deriving models for 1000 different randomly selected training (70%) and testing (30%) subsets. Gust prediction fidelity in independent test samples is critically dependent on inclusion of an autoregressive term. Gust occurrence probabilities derived using five-layer ANNs exhibit consistently higher fidelity than those from regression models and shallower ANNs. Inclusion of the autoregressive term and increasing the number of hidden layers in ANNs from 1 to 5 also improve the model performance for gust magnitudes (lower RMSE, increased correlation, and model standard deviations that more closely approximate observed values). Deeper ANNs (e.g., 20 hidden layers) exhibit higher skill in forecasting strong (17–25.7 m s−1) and damaging (≥25.7 m s−1) wind gusts. However, such deep networks exhibit evidence of overfitting and still substantially underestimate (by 50%) the frequency of strong and damaging wind gusts at the three airports considered herein.

Significance Statement

Improved short-term forecasting of wind gusts will enhance aviation safety and logistics and may offer other societal benefits. Here we present a rigorous investigation of the relative skill of models of wind gust occurrence and magnitude that employ different statistical methods. It is shown that artificial neural networks (ANNs) offer considerable skill enhancement over regression methods, particularly for strong and damaging wind gusts. For wind gust magnitudes in particular, application of deeper learning networks (e.g., five or more hidden layers) offers tangible improvements in forecast accuracy. However, deeper networks are vulnerable to overfitting and exhibit substantial variability with the specific training and testing data subset used. Also, even deep ANNs reproduce only half of strong and damaging wind gusts. These results indicate the need for future work to elucidate the dynamical mechanisms of intense wind gusts and advance solutions to their prediction.

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


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.

Free access
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.

Full access