Study of Coastal Effects Relevant for Offshore Wind Energy Using Spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)


Coastal wind speed gradients relevant for offshore windfarming are analysed based on synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data. The study concentrates on situations with offshore wind directions in the German Bight using SAR scenes from the European satellites Sentinel-1A and Sentinel-1B. High resolution wind fields at 10 m height are derived from the satellite data set and respective horizontal wind speed gradients are investigated up to about 170 km offshore. The wind speed gradients are classified according to their general shape with about 60% of the cases showing an overall increase of wind speeds with growing distance from the coast. About half of the remaining cases show an overall wind speed decrease and the other half a decrease with a subsequent increase at larger distances from the coast. An empirical model is fitted to the horizontal wind speed gradients, which has three main parameters, namely, the wind speed over land, the equilibrium wind speed over sea far offshore, and a characteristic adjustment length scale. For the cases with overall wind speed increase, a mean absolute difference of about 2.6 m/s is found between wind speeds over land and wind speeds far offshore. The mean normalised wind speed increase with respect to the land conditions is estimated as 40%. In terms of wind power density at 10 m height this corresponds to an absolute average growth by 0.3 kW/m2 and a normalised increase by 160%. The distance over which the wind speed grows to 95% of the maximum wind speed shows large variations with maximum above 170 km and a mean of 67 km. The impact of the atmospheric boundary layer stability on horizontal wind speed gradients is investigated using additional information on air and sea temperature differences. The absolute SAR-derived wind speed increase offshore is usually higher in unstable situations and the respective adjustment distance is shorter. Furthermore, we have found atypical cases with a wind speed decrease offshore to be often connected to stable atmospheric conditions. A particular low-level jet (LLJ) situation is analysed in more detail using vertical wind speed profiles from a wind LIDAR system.
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