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Publication Date
9 January 2022

Occurrence of Low-Level Jets over the Eastern U.S. Coastal Zone at Heights Relevant to Wind Energy



Two years of high-resolution simulations conducted with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model are used to characterize the frequency, intensity and height of low-level jets (LLJ) over the U.S. Atlantic coastal zone. Meteorological conditions and the occurrence and characteristics of LLJs are described for (i) the centroids of thirteen of the sixteen active offshore wind energy lease areas off the U.S. east coast and (ii) along two transects extending east from the U.S. coastline across the northern lease areas (LA). Flow close to the nominal hub-height of wind turbines is predominantly northwesterly and southwesterly and exhibits pronounced seasonality, with highest wind speeds in November, and lowest wind speeds in June. LLJs diagnosed using vertical profiles of modeled wind speeds from approximately 20 to 530 m above sea level exhibit highest frequency in LA south of Massachusetts, where LLJs are identified in up to 12% of hours in June. LLJs are considerably less frequent further south along the U.S. east coast and outside of the summer season. LLJs frequently occur at heights that intersect the wind turbine rotor plane, and at wind speeds within typical wind turbine operating ranges. LLJs are most frequent, intense and have lowest core heights under strong horizontal temperature gradients and lower planetary boundary layer heights.

Aird, Jeanie A., Rebecca J. Barthelmie, Tristan J. Shepherd, and Sara C. Pryor. 2022. “Occurrence Of Low-Level Jets Over The Eastern U.s. Coastal Zone At Heights Relevant To Wind Energy”. Energies 15: 445. doi:10.3390/en15020445.
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