Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Impact of Coastal Terrain on Offshore Wind and Implications for Wind Energy
by Strobach, Edward Justin, Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2017, 262; 10617333
Abstract (Summary)

The development of offshore wind energy is moving forward as one of several options for carbon-free energy generation along the populous US east coast. Accurate assessments of the wind resource are essential and can significantly lower financing costs that have been a barrier to development. Wind resource assessment in the Mid-Atlantic region is challenging since there are no long-term measurements of winds across the rotor span. Features of the coastal and inland terrain, such as such as the Appalachian mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, are known to lead to complex mesoscale wind regimes onshore, including low-level jets (LLJs), downslope winds and sea breezes. Little is known, however, about whether or how the inland physiography impacts the winds offshore. This research is based on the first comprehensive set of offshore wind observations in the Maryland Wind Energy Area gathered during a UMBC measurement campaign. The presentation will include a case study of a strong nocturnal LLJ that persisted for several hours before undergoing a rapid breakdown and loss of energy to smaller scales. Measurements from an onshore wind profiler and radiosondes, together with North American Regional Analysis (NARR) and a high resolution Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model simulation, are used to untangle the forcing mechanisms on synoptic, regional and local scales that led to the jet and its collapse. The results suggest that the evolution of LLJs were impacted by a downslope wind from the Appalachians that propagated offshore riding atop a shallow near-surface boundary layer across the coastal plain. Baroclinic forcing from low sea surface temperatures (SSTs) due to coastal upwelling is also discussed. Smaller scale details of the LLJ breakdown are analyzed using a wave/mean flow/turbulence interaction approach. The case study illustrates several characteristics of low-level winds offshore that are important for wind energy, including LLJs, strong wind shear, turbulence and rapid changes in the wind, so-called "ramp events”. A 3-year survey based on NARR analyses is used to estimate the likelihood that similar events could occur under the same meteorological conditions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sparling, Lynn C.
Commitee: Bacmeister, Julio, Delgado, Ruben, Demoz, Belay, Pelton, Matthew, Sparling, Lynn C., Zhai, Pengwang
School: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Department: Physics, Atmospheric
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-B 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Atmospheric sciences
Keywords: Coastal meteorology, Doppler wind lidar, Physiography, Turbulence, Wave dynamics, Wind energy
Publication Number: 10617333
ISBN: 9780355238013
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