Wind and atmospheric stability characteristics over the Baltic Sea

University dissertation from Uppsala : Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University

Abstract: In recent years there has been an increase in offshore wind energy, which poses the need for accurate wind speed estimates in the marine environment, especially in coastal areas where most wind turbines will be placed. This thesis is focused on the Baltic Sea, which is a small, semi-enclosed sea where land-sea interaction play an important role in explaining the wind patterns.Mesoscale model simulations can be used to study the marine environment, where observations are often scarce. In this thesis the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model is used. In the first study simulations show that stable stratification over sea is very common in spring and summer and is associated with an increase in low-level jet occurrence and increased wind shear below 200 m, at heights where wind turbines are erected. The model performance in stable conditions is evaluated against aircraft measurements using several boundary layer parametrization schemes, and it is shown that the low-level jet height and strength is not accurately captured with any of the parametrizations.In the second study the advection of land features is investigated. From simulations, aircraft observations and satellite images it is shown that boundary layer rolls are created in the convective boundary layer over land, and advected several tens of kilometres out over sea surface, despite the stable stratification, where convective turbulence dissipates quickly. The occurrence of boundary layer rolls gives rise to horizontal wind speed variations of several meters per second over distances of kilometres, which can increase the uncertainty of short term wind speed forecasts in coastal areas with offshore flow.It is shown that mesoscale processes in and above the marine boundary layer are important in modifying the wind field in distances of at least 100 km from the coast and that models still need to be improved in order to capture these conditions.