The Influence of Real-World Wind Turbine Deployments on Local to Mesoscale Climate

TitleThe Influence of Real-World Wind Turbine Deployments on Local to Mesoscale Climate
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsPryor, Sara C., Barthelmie Rebecca J., and Shepherd Tristan J.
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Volume123
Number11
Pages5804-5826
Date Published06/2018
Abstract / Summary

Paired simulations are conducted using the Weather Research and Forecasting model applied at convection permitting resolution in order to determine the impact of wind turbines (WTs) on the local to mesoscale climate. Using actual WT locations and a model of the effect of the WT rotor on the flow field, it is shown that while the presence of WT changes wind speeds (WSs) and near‐surface air temperature in 4‐km grid cells in which WTs are located, the impact at larger scales on near‐surface air temperature, specific humidity, the fluxes of latent and sensible heat, boundary layer heights, and precipitation is not significant in any season other than summer. During summer, the maximum pairwise difference in grid cell mean temperatures is 0.5 K and the maximum increase in near‐surface specific humidity is 0.4 g/kg. However, a spatial average of the mean seasonal perturbation of air temperature by WT gives a net impact of <0.1 K. Precipitation probability is also not significantly impacted in any season other than summer. In the summer the presence of WT is associated with a small decrease in precipitation probability and a decrease in season total precipitation of −2.6%. The finding of minor magnitude, but significant impacts, during summer should be used to contextualize results of substantial climate impacts from WT arrays deployed in the U.S. Central Plains based on short‐term simulations conducted for the summer season.

URLhttp://doi.org/10.1029/2017JD028114
DOI10.1029/2017JD028114
Journal: Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Year of Publication: 2018
Volume: 123
Number: 11
Pages: 5804-5826
Date Published: 06/2018

Paired simulations are conducted using the Weather Research and Forecasting model applied at convection permitting resolution in order to determine the impact of wind turbines (WTs) on the local to mesoscale climate. Using actual WT locations and a model of the effect of the WT rotor on the flow field, it is shown that while the presence of WT changes wind speeds (WSs) and near‐surface air temperature in 4‐km grid cells in which WTs are located, the impact at larger scales on near‐surface air temperature, specific humidity, the fluxes of latent and sensible heat, boundary layer heights, and precipitation is not significant in any season other than summer. During summer, the maximum pairwise difference in grid cell mean temperatures is 0.5 K and the maximum increase in near‐surface specific humidity is 0.4 g/kg. However, a spatial average of the mean seasonal perturbation of air temperature by WT gives a net impact of <0.1 K. Precipitation probability is also not significantly impacted in any season other than summer. In the summer the presence of WT is associated with a small decrease in precipitation probability and a decrease in season total precipitation of −2.6%. The finding of minor magnitude, but significant impacts, during summer should be used to contextualize results of substantial climate impacts from WT arrays deployed in the U.S. Central Plains based on short‐term simulations conducted for the summer season.

DOI: 10.1029/2017JD028114
Citation:
Pryor, SC, RJ Barthelmie, and TJ Shepherd.  2018.  "The Influence of Real-World Wind Turbine Deployments on Local to Mesoscale Climate."  Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 123(11): 5804-5826.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JD028114.