Articles | Volume 2, issue 1
Research article
09 Feb 2017
Research article |  | 09 Feb 2017

A methodology for the design and testing of atmospheric boundary layer models for wind energy applications

Javier Sanz Rodrigo, Matthew Churchfield, and Branko Kosovic

Abstract. The GEWEX Atmospheric Boundary Layer Studies (GABLS) 1, 2 and 3 are used to develop a methodology for the design and testing of Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) models for wind energy applications. The first two GABLS cases are based on idealized boundary conditions and are suitable for verification purposes by comparing with results from higher-fidelity models based on large-eddy simulation. Results from three single-column RANS models, of 1st, 1.5th and 2nd turbulence closure order, show high consistency in predicting the mean flow. The third GABLS case is suitable for the study of these ABL models under realistic forcing such that validation versus observations from the Cabauw meteorological tower are possible. The case consists on a diurnal cycle that leads to a nocturnal low-level jet and addresses fundamental questions related to the definition of the large-scale forcing, the interaction of the ABL with the surface and the evaluation of model results with observations. The simulations are evaluated in terms of surface-layer fluxes and wind energy quantities of interest: rotor equivalent wind speed, hub-height wind direction, wind speed shear and wind direction veer. The characterization of mesoscale forcing is based on spatially and temporally averaged momentum budget terms from Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) simulations. These mesoscale tendencies are used to drive single-column models, which were verified previously in the first two GABLS cases, to first demonstrate that they can produce similar wind profile characteristics to the WRF simulations even though the physics are more simplified. The added value of incorporating different forcing mechanisms into microscale models is quantified by systematically removing forcing terms in the momentum and heat equations. This mesoscale-to-microscale modeling approach is affected, to a large extent, by the input uncertainties of the mesoscale tendencies. Deviations from the profile observations are reduced by introducing observational nudging based on measurements that are typically available from wind energy campaigns. This allows the discussion of the added value of using remote sensing instruments versus tower measurements in the assessment of wind profiles for tall wind turbines reaching heights of 200 m.

Short summary
The series of GABLS model intercomparison benchmarks is revisited in the context of wind energy atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) models. GABLS 1 and 2 are used for verification purposes. Then GABLS 3 is used to develop a methodology for using realistic mesoscale forcing for microscale ABL models. The method also uses profile nudging to dynamically reduce the bias. Different data assimilation strategies are discussed based on typical instrumentation setups of wind energy campaigns.
Final-revised paper