Experimental Planetary Boundary Layer Instrumentation Assessment


Multiple remote sensing devices were compared to reference measurements mounted on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Boulder Atmospheric Observatory (BAO) near Erie, Colorado. XPIA’s primary data collection period was run for a five-week period from March 2–April 6, 2015.

Julie Lundquist
University of Colorado Boulder
Principal Investigator

Jim Wilczak
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


The primary goal of this study was to evaluate and document uncertainties of wind measurements from remote sensing systems. Sampling configurations were designed to be directly usable for validating high-fidelity models of wind plant inflows and wake flow. This goal entailed quantifying the ability of remote sensing devices to measure the three-dimensional wind field in and around operating wind plants at various temporal and spatial scales. A repeated cycle of measurements was made by all participating devices, including starting at single points and virtual tower, planar, and volumetric scans, which was intended to quantify sources of uncertainty as the scan volume increased in size and complexity.

Because turbulence and temperature profiles are critical for simulations of flow in and around wind plants for wind energy forecasting and/or wind plant control optimization, XPIA aimed to quantify the uncertainty of temperature and turbulence profiles from remote sensing platforms to profiles available from soundings and tower measurements.


This field study included three NOAA scanning Doppler lidars, scanning lidars from other institutions, two scanning Ka-band radars from Texas Tech University, several vertical profiling lidars, a radar wind profiler with Radar Analysis Support System (RASS), and one or more microwave radiometers. Data available on the DAP:

Instrument DAP instance Location Description Latitude Longitude Elevation
ecor z01 BAO Tower 40.05003 -105.00384 1584
lidar z01 HRDL water tank 40.409 -104.99845 1602
lidar z02 Dalek1, EHS 40.04702 -105.01625 1582
lidar z03 Dalek2, Visitor Center 40.04533 -105.00572 1587
lidar z04 UTD, NE pad 40.05063 -105.00113 1582
lidar z05 UMBC, NW pad 40.0507 -105.00524 1578
lidar z06 DOE, S pad 40.04881 -105.00387 1587
mwr z01 CU, Visitor Center 40.04533 -105.00572 1587
mwr z02 NOAA, Visitor Center 40.04533 -105.00572 1587
mwr z03 UMBC, water tank 40.409 -104.99845 1602
radar z01 TTU Ka-band, Visitor Center 40.04533 -105.00572 1587
radar z02 TTU Ka-band, Visitor Center 40.04533 -105.00572 1587
radar z03 NOAA 915 MHz, Visitor Center 40.04533 -105.00572 1587
radar z04 NOAA 449 MHz, Visitor Center 40.04533 -105.00572 1587
sonde z02 UMBC, water tank 40.409 -104.99845 1587

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Data Status

Data are available to download with a DAP account on the web server: https://a2e.energy.gov/data.

In addition, the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society has published the following paper: "Assessing State-of-the-Art Capabilities for Probing the Atmospheric Boundary Layer: The XPIA Field Campaign."

External Resource: http://a2expia.blogspot.com/



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