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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-906
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-906
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 20 Sep 2018

Research article | 20 Sep 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Characterizing Wind Gusts in Complex Terrain

Frederick Letson1,2, Rebecca J. Barthelmie2, Weifei Hu1,2, and Sara C. Pryor1 Frederick Letson et al.
  • 1Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
  • 2Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Abstract. Wind gusts are a key driver of aerodynamic loading, especially for tall structures such a bridges and wind turbines. However, gust characteristics in complex terrain are not well understood and common approximations used to describe wind gust behavior may not be appropriate at heights relevant to wind turbines and other structures. Data collected in the Perdigão experiment are analyzed herein to provide a foundation for improved wind gust characterization and process-level understanding of flow intermittency in complex terrain. High-resolution observations from sonic anemometers and vertically pointing Doppler lidars are used to conduct a detailed study of gust characteristics with a specific focus on the parent distributions of nine gust parameters (that describe velocity, time and length scales), their joint distributions, height variation and coherence in the vertical and horizontal planes. Best-fit distributional forms for varying gust properties show good agreement with those from previous experiments in moderately complex terrain but generate non-conservative estimates of the gust properties that are of key importance to structural loading. Probability distributions of gust magnitude derived from vertical pointing Doppler lidars exhibit good agreement with estimates from sonic anemometers despite differences arising from volumetric averaging and the terrain complexity. Wind speed coherence functions during gusty periods (which are important to structural wind loading) are similar to less complex sites for small vertical displacements (10 to 40m), but do not exhibit an exponential form for larger horizontal displacements (800 to 1500m).

Frederick Letson et al.
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Wind gusts are a key driver of aerodynamic loading, and common approximations used to describe wind gust behavior may not be appropriate in complex terrain at heights relevant to wind turbines and other structures. High-resolution observations from sonic anemometers and vertically pointing Doppler lidars collected in the Perdigão experiment are analyzed to provide a foundation for improved wind gust characterization in complex terrain.
Wind gusts are a key driver of aerodynamic loading, and common approximations used to describe...
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