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Volume 10, issue 2 | Copyright

Special issue: Pushing the limits: The eXperimental Planetary boundary layer...

Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 393-407, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-10-393-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 02 Feb 2017

Research article | 02 Feb 2017

Identification of tower-wake distortions using sonic anemometer and lidar measurements

Katherine McCaffrey1,2, Paul T. Quelet3, Aditya Choukulkar1,4, James M. Wilczak2, Daniel E. Wolfe2, Steven P. Oncley5, W. Alan Brewer4, Mithu Debnath6, Ryan Ashton6, G. Valerio Iungo6, and Julie K. Lundquist3,7 Katherine McCaffrey et al.
  • 1Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 2National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Earth Systems Research Laboratory Physical Sciences Division, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 3Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 4National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Earth Systems Research Laboratory Chemical Sciences Division, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 5National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 6Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas, USA
  • 7National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado, USA

Abstract. The eXperimental Planetary boundary layer Instrumentation Assessment (XPIA) field campaign took place in March through May 2015 at the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory, utilizing its 300m meteorological tower, instrumented with two sonic anemometers mounted on opposite sides of the tower at six heights. This allowed for at least one sonic anemometer at each level to be upstream of the tower at all times and for identification of the times when a sonic anemometer is in the wake of the tower frame. Other instrumentation, including profiling and scanning lidars aided in the identification of the tower wake. Here we compare pairs of sonic anemometers at the same heights to identify the range of directions that are affected by the tower for each of the opposing booms. The mean velocity and turbulent kinetic energy are used to quantify the wake impact on these first- and second-order wind measurements, showing up to a 50% reduction in wind speed and an order of magnitude increase in turbulent kinetic energy. Comparisons of wind speeds from profiling and scanning lidars confirmed the extent of the tower wake, with the same reduction in wind speed observed in the tower wake, and a speed-up effect around the wake boundaries. Wind direction differences between pairs of sonic anemometers and between sonic anemometers and lidars can also be significant, as the flow is deflected by the tower structure. Comparisons of lengths of averaging intervals showed a decrease in wind speed deficit with longer averages, but the flow deflection remains constant over longer averages. Furthermore, asymmetry exists in the tower effects due to the geometry and placement of the booms on the triangular tower. An analysis of the percentage of observations in the wake that must be removed from 2min mean wind speed and 20min turbulent values showed that removing even small portions of the time interval due to wakes impacts these two quantities. However, a vast majority of intervals have no observations in the tower wake, so removing the full 2 or 20min intervals does not diminish the XPIA dataset.

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During the eXperimental Planetary boundary layer Instrumentation Assessment (XPIA) field campaign, the wake and flow distortion from a 300-meter meteorological tower was identified using pairs of sonic anemometers mounted on opposite sides of the tower, as well as profiling and scanning lidars. Wind speed deficits up to 50% and TKE increases of 2 orders of magnitude were observed at wind directions in the wake, along with wind direction differences (flow deflection) outside of the wake.
During the eXperimental Planetary boundary layer Instrumentation Assessment (XPIA) field...
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