Winds at an Interior Alaska Summit

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  • 1 Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks 99701
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Abstract

One purpose of this study was to compare anemometer-based average wind speeds at a well-exposed interior Alaskan summit with those deduced from local rawinsonde data at the same summit altitude. The second purpose was to evaluate the wind power potential of the site investigated. Winds measured by an anemometer for two years (1979–81) at Murphy Dome Air Force Station, Alaska, 893 m above sea level, gave an annual scalar wind speed V̄n of 6.33 m s−1 (14.2 mph) at 13.7 m (45 ft) above ground. The measured seasonal average speeds of 7.48 (winter), 5.70 (spring), 5.98 (summer) and 6.14 m s−1 (autumn) agree well with estimates based on free-stream (rawinsonde) winds V̄f from long-term (1948–70) data at the same altitude. The latter came from the vicinity of the Fairbanks International Airport, 27 km southeast of Murphy Dome. The ratios V̄n/V̄f were 1.1 (winter), 0.99 (spring), 1.1 (summer) and 0.97 (autumn). The wind power potential of the station is good to excellent throughout the year, in sharp contrast to the poor potential of Fairbanks.

Abstract

One purpose of this study was to compare anemometer-based average wind speeds at a well-exposed interior Alaskan summit with those deduced from local rawinsonde data at the same summit altitude. The second purpose was to evaluate the wind power potential of the site investigated. Winds measured by an anemometer for two years (1979–81) at Murphy Dome Air Force Station, Alaska, 893 m above sea level, gave an annual scalar wind speed V̄n of 6.33 m s−1 (14.2 mph) at 13.7 m (45 ft) above ground. The measured seasonal average speeds of 7.48 (winter), 5.70 (spring), 5.98 (summer) and 6.14 m s−1 (autumn) agree well with estimates based on free-stream (rawinsonde) winds V̄f from long-term (1948–70) data at the same altitude. The latter came from the vicinity of the Fairbanks International Airport, 27 km southeast of Murphy Dome. The ratios V̄n/V̄f were 1.1 (winter), 0.99 (spring), 1.1 (summer) and 0.97 (autumn). The wind power potential of the station is good to excellent throughout the year, in sharp contrast to the poor potential of Fairbanks.

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