Coastal Wind Profiler
Wind is a variable energy resource. As its proportional contribution to overall electrical power increases, accurate forecasting of wind power production becomes increasingly important to maintain stability in the electrical grid and low power costs. In turn, forecast accuracy depends substantially on data to provide accurate initialization of numerical weather forecast models. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), recently completed installation of three new wind-profiling radars on the Washington and Oregon coasts to provide data for model initialization.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Previous research has demonstrated that assimilation of wind profiling radar observations into numerical weather prediction models improves the accuracy of wind forecasts in the troposphere. DOE's recently completed Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP) demonstrated there is a clear benefit to hub-height forecast accuracy by providing additional model initialization data, especially above the surface. Data from the radar wind profilers deployed as part of this project are expected to improve wind energy forecasts along the West Coast, as well as next-day forecasts in the Midwest.
Radar wind profilers with radio acoustic sounding systems (RASS) are deployed in North Bend and Astoria, Oregon, as well as Forks, Washington.
Each location also features:
- A 449-MHz radar wind profiler
- A 10-m surface meteorological station equipped with a propeller-and-vane anemometer and radiometer
- Temperature, relative humidity, and barometric pressure sensors
- A rain gauge and global positioning system (GPS) receiver measure precipitation and integrated atmospheric water vapor, respectively
These data also will be sent to NOAA in real time. Plots of the data can be seen at: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/obs/datadisplay/. In addition, the data will be used for boundary layer conditions during the WFIP2 field study.