02 April 2019

Characterizing Wind Gusts in Complex Terrain

Science

Wind gusts are a key driver of aerodynamic loading (and thus are a key component of damage from meteorological extremes). Common approximations used to describe wind gust behavior are shown to not be appropriate for heights relevant to major energy infrastructure. We provide a foundation for improved wind gust characterization and process-level understanding of flow intermittency. 

Impact

Best-fit parent distributions of nine gust parameters (velocity, time, and length scales), their joint distributions, height variation, and coherence in the vertical and horizontal planes are derived. Wind speed coherence functions during gusty periods are similar to less complex sites for small vertical displacements (10 to 40 m), but do not exhibit an exponential form for larger horizontal displacements (800 to 1500 m).

Summary

Wind gusts are a key driver of aerodynamic loading and thus are a key component of damage to energy infrastructure (and other sectors) from meteorological extremes.  We provide a foundation for improved wind gust characterization and potential tools for prediction and also advance process-level understanding.

Contact
S.C. Pryor
Cornell University
Publications
Letson, F, R Barthelmie, W Hu, and S Pryor.  2019.  "Characterizing Wind Gusts in Complex Terrain."  Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 19(6): 3797-3819, pp. 3797-3819.  https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-19-3797-2019.