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Publication Date
1 July 2018

Wind Gust Characterization at Wind Turbine Relevant Heights in Moderately Complex Terrain



Improved understanding of wind gusts in complex terrain is critically important to wind engineering and specifically the wind energy industry. Observational data from 3D sonic anemometers deployed at 3 and 65 m at a site in moderately complex terrain within the northeastern United States are used to calculate 10 descriptors of wind gusts and to determine the parent distributions that best describe these parameters. It is shown that the parent distributions exhibit consistency across different descriptors of the gust climate. Specifically, the parameters that describe the gust intensity (gust amplitude, rise magnitude, and lapse magnitude; i.e., properties that have units of length per time) fit the two-parameter Weibull distribution, those that are unitless ratios (gust factor and peak factor) are described by log-logistic distributions, and all other properties (peak gust, rise and lapse times, gust asymmetric factor, and gust length scale) are lognormally distributed. It is also shown that gust factors scale with turbulence intensity, but gusts are distinguishable in power spectra of the longitudinal wind component (i.e., they have demonstrably different length scales than the average eddy length scale). Gust periods at the lower measurement height (3 m) are consistent with shear production, whereas at 65 m they are not. At this site, there is only a weak directional dependence of gust properties on site terrain and land cover variability along sectorial transects, but large gust length scales and gust factors are more likely to be observed in unstable atmospheric conditions.

“Wind Gust Characterization At Wind Turbine Relevant Heights In Moderately Complex Terrain”. 2018. Journal Of Applied Meteorology And Climatology 57: 1459-1476. doi:10.1175/jamc-d-18-0040.1.
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