Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 15837-15881, 2012
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/12/15837/2012/
doi:10.5194/acpd-12-15837-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Idealized WRF model sensitivity simulations of sea breeze types and their effects on offshore windfields
C. J. Steele1, S. R. Dorling1,2, R. von Glasow1, and J. Bacon2
1School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7TJ, UK
2Weatherquest Ltd, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7TJ, UK

Abstract. The behaviour and characteristics of the marine component of sea breeze cells have received little attention relative to their onshore counterparts. Yet there is a growing interest and dependence on the offshore wind climate from, for example, a wind energy perspective. Using idealized model experiments, we investigate the sea breeze circulation at scales which approximate to those of the Southern North Sea, a region of major ongoing offshore wind farm development. We also contrast the scales and characteristics of the pure and the little known corkscrew and backdoor sea breeze types, where the type is pre-defined by the orientation of the synoptic scale flow relative to the shoreline. We find, crucially, that pure sea breezes, in contrast to corkscrew and backdoor types, can lead to substantial wind speed reductions offshore and that the addition of a second eastern coastline emphasises this effect through generation of offshore "calm zones". The offshore extent of all sea breeze types is found to be sensitive to both the influence of Coriolis acceleration and to the boundary layer scheme selected. These extents range, for example for a pure sea breeze produced in a 2 m s−1 offshore gradient wind, from 10 km to 40 km between the Mellor-Yamada-Nakanishi-Niino and the Yonsei State University schemes, respectively. The corkscrew type restricts the development of a backdoor sea breeze on the eastern coast and is also capable of traversing a 100 km offshore domain even under high gradient wind speed (>15 m s−1) conditions. Realistic variations in sea surface skin temperature during the sea breeze season do not significantly affect the circulation, suggesting that a thermal contrast is only needed as a precondition to the development of the sea breeze. We highlight how sea breeze impacts on circulation need to be considered in order to improve the accuracy of assessments of the offshore wind energy climate.

Citation: Steele, C. J., Dorling, S. R., von Glasow, R., and Bacon, J.: Idealized WRF model sensitivity simulations of sea breeze types and their effects on offshore windfields, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 15837-15881, doi:10.5194/acpd-12-15837-2012, 2012.
 
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