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Interaction of Nocturnal Low-Level Jets with Urban Geometries as seen in Joint URBAN 2003 Data

Description: The nocturnal low-level jet (LLJ) is a well-documented phenomenon world-wide, especially in the southern Great Plains of the United States (Bonner 1968, Whiteman et al. 1997, Banta et al., 2002) where it contributes to severe weather. In the canonical rural case, the nocturnal LLJ forms as the release of daytime convective turbulent stresses allow nighttime winds above a stable boundary layer to accelerate to supergeostrophic wind speeds. In situations with surface winds of less than 5 m/s, wind speeds at altitudes of 100m due to the nocturnal LLJ can be greater than 20 m/s. The turbulence generated by this wind shear can induce nocturnal mixing events and control surface-atmosphere exchange, thereby affecting atmospheric transport and dispersion. The Joint URBAN 2003 urban dispersion dataset, collected in Oklahoma City in July, 2003, includes several occurrences of strong LLJs, thereby providing a unique opportunity to document how the LLJ interacts with the complexity of urban geometries and to explore the significance of LLJs for transport and dispersion in urban environments. Based on this dataset, we will answer the following questions: (1) How often do LLJs occur during the experiment? (2) How does the increase in surface roughness represented by the city center, as compared to the rural environment, affect the altitude and speed of the jet, based on data from upwind and downwind wind profiles? (3) How often do LLJs contribute to nocturnal mixing events within the Oklahoma City urban area, as observed in profiles of turbulence quantities at an 80m pseudo-tower located 750m downwind of Oklahoma City center? (4) Can the effect of these LLJ-induced mixing events be identified in the dispersion datasets?
Date: July 13, 2005
Creator: Lundquist, J K
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Revealing the Impact of Climate Variability on the Wind Resource Using Data Mining Techniques (Poster)

Description: A data mining technique called 'k-means clustering' can be used to group winds at the NWTC into 4 major clusters. The frequency of some winds in the clusters is correlated with regional pressure gradients and climate indices. The technique could also be applied to wind resource assessment and selecting scenarios for flow modeling.
Date: December 1, 2011
Creator: Clifton, A. & Lundquist, J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Interaction of Nocturnal Low-Level Jets with Urban Geometries as seen in Joint URBAN 2003 Data

Description: As accurate modeling of atmospheric flows in urban environments requires sophisticated representation of complex urban geometries, much work has been devoted to treatment of the urban surface. However, the importance of the larger-scale flow impinging upon the urban complex to the flow, transport and dispersion within it and downwind has received less attention. Building-resolving computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models are commonly employed to investigate interactions between the flow and three-dimensional structures comprising the urban environment, however such models are typically forced with simplified boundary conditions that fail to include important regional-scale phenomena that can strongly influence the flow within the urban complex and downwind. This paper investigates the interaction of an important and frequently occurring regional-scale phenomenon, the nocturnal low-level jet (LLJ), with urban-scale turbulence and dispersion in Oklahoma City using data from the Joint URBAN 2003 (JU2003) field experiment. Two simulations of nocturnal tracer release experiments from JU2003 using Lawrence Livermore National laboratory's FEM3MP CFD model yield differing levels of agreement with the observations in wind speed, turbulence kinetic energy (TKE) and concentration profiles in the urban wake, approximately 750m downwind of the central business district. Profiles of several observed turbulence parameters at this location indicate characteristics of both bottom-up and top-down boundary layers during each of the experiments. These data are consistent with turbulence production due to at least two sources, the complex flow structures of the urban area and the region of strong vertical wind shear occurring beneath the LLJs present each night. While strong LLJs occurred each night, their structures varied considerably, resulting in significant differences in the magnitudes of the turbulence parameters observed during the two experiments. As FEM3MP was forced only with an upwind velocity profile that did not adequately represent the LLJ, the downward propagation of TKE observed during the experiments was absent ...
Date: September 6, 2006
Creator: K.Lundquist, J & D.Mirocha, J
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Mesoscale Simulations of a Wind Ramping Event for Wind Energy Prediction

Description: Ramping events, or rapid changes of wind speed and wind direction over a short period of time, present challenges to power grid operators in regions with significant penetrations of wind energy in the power grid portfolio. Improved predictions of wind power availability require adequate predictions of the timing of ramping events. For the ramping event investigated here, the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model was run at three horizontal resolutions in 'mesoscale' mode: 8100m, 2700m, and 900m. Two Planetary Boundary Layer (PBL) schemes, the Yonsei University (YSU) and Mellor-Yamada-Janjic (MYJ) schemes, were run at each resolution as well. Simulations were not 'tuned' with nuanced choices of vertical resolution or tuning parameters so that these simulations may be considered 'out-of-the-box' tests of a numerical weather prediction code. Simulations are compared with sodar observations during a wind ramping event at a 'West Coast North America' wind farm. Despite differences in the boundary-layer schemes, no significant differences were observed in the abilities of the schemes to capture the timing of the ramping event. As collaborators have identified, the boundary conditions of these simulations probably dominate the physics of the simulations. They suggest that future investigations into characterization of ramping events employ ensembles of simulations, and that the ensembles include variations of boundary conditions. Furthermore, the failure of these simulations to capture not only the timing of the ramping event but the shape of the wind profile during the ramping event (regardless of its timing) indicates that the set-up and execution of such simulations for wind power forecasting requires skill and tuning of the simulations for a specific site.
Date: September 21, 2011
Creator: Rhodes, M & Lundquist, J K
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department


Description: Accurate numerical prediction of airflow and tracer dispersion in urban areas depends, to a great extent, on the use of appropriate stability conditions. Due to the lack of relevant field measurements or sufficiently sophisticated turbulence models, modelers often assume that nearly neutral conditions are appropriate to use for the entire urban area being simulated. The main argument for such an assumption is that atmospheric stability (as defined by the Richardson number) is determined by both mechanical stresses and buoyant forcing but, for a typical urban setting with a given thermal stability or sensible heat flux, building-induced mechanical stresses can become so dominant to drive the resulting stability toward nearly neutral conditions. Results from our recent simulations of two Joint URBAN 2003 releases, using a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model - FEM3MP, appear to support partially the assumption that urban areas tend toward neutral stability. More specifically, based on a model-data comparison for winds and concentration in the near field and velocity and turbulence profiles in the urban wake region, Chan and Lundquist (2005) and Lundquist and Chan (2005) observed that neutral stability assumption appears to be valid for intensive operation period (IOP) 9 (a nighttime release with moderate winds) and also appears to be valid for IOP 3 (a daytime release with strong buoyant forcing) in the urban core area but is less valid in the urban wake region. Our model, developed under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is based on solving the three-dimensional, time-dependent, incompressible Navier-Stokes equations on massively parallel computer platforms. The numerical algorithm is based on finite-element discretization for effective treatment of complex building geometries and variable terrain, together with a semi-implicit projection scheme and modern iterative solvers developed by Gresho and Chan (1998) for efficient time ...
Date: November 1, 2005
Creator: Chan, S T & Lundquist, J K
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Operational forecasting based on a modified Weather Research and Forecasting model

Description: Accurate short-term forecasts of wind resources are required for efficient wind farm operation and ultimately for the integration of large amounts of wind-generated power into electrical grids. Siemens Energy Inc. and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, with the University of Colorado at Boulder, are collaborating on the design of an operational forecasting system for large wind farms. The basis of the system is the numerical weather prediction tool, the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model; large-eddy simulations and data assimilation approaches are used to refine and tailor the forecasting system. Representation of the atmospheric boundary layer is modified, based on high-resolution large-eddy simulations of the atmospheric boundary. These large-eddy simulations incorporate wake effects from upwind turbines on downwind turbines as well as represent complex atmospheric variability due to complex terrain and surface features as well as atmospheric stability. Real-time hub-height wind speed and other meteorological data streams from existing wind farms are incorporated into the modeling system to enable uncertainty quantification through probabilistic forecasts. A companion investigation has identified optimal boundary-layer physics options for low-level forecasts in complex terrain, toward employing decadal WRF simulations to anticipate large-scale changes in wind resource availability due to global climate change.
Date: March 18, 2010
Creator: Lundquist, J; Glascoe, L & Obrecht, J
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Synergistic Effects of Turbine Wakes and Atmospheric Stability on Power Production at an Onshore Wind Farm

Description: This report examines the complex interactions between atmospheric stability and turbine-induced wakes on downwind turbine wind speed and power production at a West Coast North American multi-MW wind farm. Wakes are generated when the upwind flow field is distorted by the mechanical movement of the wind turbine blades. This has two consequences for downwind turbines: (1) the downwind turbine encounters wind flows with reduced velocity and (2) the downwind turbine encounters increased turbulence across multiple length scales via mechanical turbulence production by the upwind turbine. This increase in turbulence on top of ambient levels may increase aerodynamic fatigue loads on the blades and reduce the lifetime of turbine component parts. Furthermore, ambient atmospheric conditions, including atmospheric stability, i.e., thermal stratification in the lower boundary layer, play an important role in wake dissipation. Higher levels of ambient turbulence (i.e., a convective or unstable boundary layer) lead to higher turbulent mixing in the wake and a faster recovery in the velocity flow field downwind of a turbine. Lower levels of ambient turbulence, as in a stable boundary layer, will lead to more persistent wakes. The wake of a wind turbine can be divided into two regions: the near wake and far wake, as illustrated in Figure 1. The near wake is formed when the turbine structure alters the shape of the flow field and usually persists one rotor diameter (D) downstream. The difference between the air inside and outside of the near wake results in a shear layer. This shear layer thickens as it moves downstream and forms turbulent eddies of multiple length scales. As the wake travels downstream, it expands depending on the level of ambient turbulence and meanders (i.e., travels in non-uniform path). Schepers estimates that the wake is fully expanded at a distance of 2.25 D and the far ...
Date: January 25, 2012
Creator: Wharton, S; Lundquist, J K & Marjanovic, N
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Atmospheric Stability Impacts on Power Curves of Tall Wind Turbines - An Analysis of a West Coast North American Wind Farm

Description: Tall wind turbines, with hub heights at 80 m or above, can extract large amounts of energy from the atmosphere because they are likely to encounter higher wind speeds, but they face challenges given the complex nature of wind flow and turbulence at these heights in the boundary layer. Depending on whether the boundary layer is stable, neutral, or convective, the mean wind speed, direction, and turbulence properties may vary greatly across the tall turbine swept area (40 to 120 m AGL). This variability can cause tall turbines to produce difference amounts of power during time periods with identical hub height wind speeds. Using meteorological and power generation data from a West Coast North American wind farm over a one-year period, our study synthesizes standard wind park observations, such as wind speed from turbine nacelles and sparse meteorological tower observations, with high-resolution profiles of wind speed and turbulence from a remote sensing platform, to quantify the impact of atmospheric stability on power output. We first compare approaches to defining atmospheric stability. The standard, limited, wind farm operations enable the calculation only of a wind shear exponent ({alpha}) or turbulence intensity (I{sub U}) from cup anemometers, while the presence at this wind farm of a SODAR enables the direct observation of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) throughout the turbine rotor disk. Additionally, a nearby research meteorological station provided observations of the Obukhov length, L, a direct measure of atmospheric stability. In general, the stability parameters {alpha}, I{sub U}, and TKE are in high agreement with the more physically-robust L, with TKE exhibiting the best agreement with L. Using these metrics, data periods are segregated by stability class to investigate power performance dependencies. Power output at this wind farm is highly correlated with atmospheric stability during the spring and summer months, while atmospheric ...
Date: February 22, 2010
Creator: Wharton, S & Lundquist, J K
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Consequences of Urban Stability Conditions for Computational Fluid Dynamics Simulations of Urban Dispersion

Description: The validity of omitting stability considerations when simulating transport and dispersion in the urban environment is explored using observations from the Joint URBAN 2003 field experiment and computational fluid dynamics simulations of that experiment. Four releases of sulfur hexafluoride, during two daytime and two nighttime intensive observing periods, are simulated using the building-resolving computational fluid dynamics model, FEM3MP to solve the Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes equations with two options of turbulence parameterizations. One option omits stability effects but has a superior turbulence parameterization using a non-linear eddy viscosity (NEV) approach, while the other considers buoyancy effects with a simple linear eddy viscosity (LEV) approach for turbulence parameterization. Model performance metrics are calculated by comparison with observed winds and tracer data in the downtown area, and with observed winds and turbulence kinetic energy (TKE) profiles at a location immediately downwind of the central business district (CBD) in the area we label as the urban shadow. Model predictions of winds, concentrations, profiles of wind speed, wind direction, and friction velocity are generally consistent with and compare reasonably well with the field observations. Simulations using the NEV turbulence parameterization generally exhibit better agreement with observations. To further explore this assumption of a neutrally-stable atmosphere within the urban area, TKE budget profiles slightly downwind of the urban wake region in the 'urban shadow' are examined. Dissipation and shear production are the largest terms which may be calculated directly. The advection of TKE is calculated as a residual; as would be expected downwind of an urban area, the advection of TKE produced within the urban area is a very large term. Buoyancy effects may be neglected in favor of advection, shear production, and dissipation. For three of the IOPs, buoyancy production may be neglected entirely, and for one IOP, buoyancy production contributes approximately 25% of the ...
Date: November 30, 2005
Creator: Lundquist, J K & Chan, S T
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

An Improved WRF for Urban-Scale and Complex-Terrain Applications

Description: Simulations of atmospheric flow through urban areas must account for a wide range of physical phenomena including both mesoscale and urban processes. Numerical weather prediction models, such as the Weather and Research Forecasting model (WRF), excel at predicting synoptic and mesoscale phenomena. With grid spacings of less than 1 km (as is required for complex heterogeneous urban areas), however, the limits of WRF's terrain capabilities and subfilter scale (SFS) turbulence parameterizations are exposed. Observations of turbulence in urban areas frequently illustrate a local imbalance of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE), which cannot be captured by current turbulence models. Furthermore, WRF's terrain-following coordinate system is inappropriate for high-resolution simulations that include buildings. To address these issues, we are implementing significant modifications to the ARW core of the Weather Research and Forecasting model. First, we are implementing an improved turbulence model, the Dynamic Reconstruction Model (DRM), following Chow et al. (2005). Second, we are modifying WRF's terrain-following coordinate system by implementing an immersed boundary method (IBM) approach to account for the effects of urban geometries and complex terrain. Companion papers detailing the improvements enabled by the DRM and the IBM approaches are also presented (by Mirocha et al., paper 13.1, and K.A. Lundquist et al., paper 11.1, respectively). This overview of the LLNL-UC Berkeley collaboration presents the motivation for this work and some highlights of our progress to date. After implementing both DRM and an IBM for buildings in WRF, we will be able to seamlessly integrate mesoscale synoptic boundary conditions with building-scale urban simulations using grid nesting and lateral boundary forcing. This multi-scale integration will enable high-resolution simulations of flow and dispersion in complex geometries such as urban areas, as well as new simulation capabilities in regions of complex terrain.
Date: September 4, 2007
Creator: Lundquist, J K; Chow, F K; Mirocha, J D & Lundquist, K A
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Development of an Immersed Boundary Method to Resolve Complex Terrain in the Weather Research and Forecasting Model

Description: Flow and dispersion processes in urban areas are profoundly influenced by the presence of buildings which divert mean flow, affect surface heating and cooling, and alter the structure of turbulence in the lower atmosphere. Accurate prediction of velocity, temperature, and turbulent kinetic energy fields are necessary for determining the transport and dispersion of scalars. Correct predictions of scalar concentrations are vital in densely populated urban areas where they are used to aid in emergency response planning for accidental or intentional releases of hazardous substances. Traditionally, urban flow simulations have been performed by computational fluid dynamics (CFD) codes which can accommodate the geometric complexity inherent to urban landscapes. In these types of models the grid is aligned with the solid boundaries, and the boundary conditions are applied to the computational nodes coincident with the surface. If the CFD code uses a structured curvilinear mesh, then time-consuming manual manipulation is needed to ensure that the mesh conforms to the solid boundaries while minimizing skewness. If the CFD code uses an unstructured grid, then the solver cannot be optimized for the underlying data structure which takes an irregular form. Unstructured solvers are therefore often slower and more memory intensive than their structured counterparts. Additionally, urban-scale CFD models are often forced at lateral boundaries with idealized flow, neglecting dynamic forcing due to synoptic scale weather patterns. These CFD codes solve the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations and include limited options for representing atmospheric processes such as surface fluxes and moisture. Traditional CFD codes therefore posses several drawbacks, due to the expense of either creating the grid or solving the resulting algebraic system of equations, and due to the idealized boundary conditions and the lack of full atmospheric physics. Meso-scale atmospheric boundary layer simulations, on the other hand, are performed by numerical weather prediction (NWP) codes, which ...
Date: September 4, 2007
Creator: Lunquist, K A; Chow, F K; Lundquist, J K & Mirocha, J D
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Overview of the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center's urban research and development activities

Description: This presentation describes the tools and services provided by the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) for modeling the impacts of airborne hazardous materials. NARAC provides atmospheric plume modeling tools and services for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear airborne hazards. NARAC can simulate downwind effects from a variety of scenarios, including fires, industrial and transportation accidents, radiation dispersal device explosions, hazardous material spills, sprayers, nuclear power plant accidents, and nuclear detonations. NARAC collaborates on radiological dispersion source terms and effects models with Sandia National Laboratories and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. NARAC was designated the interim provider of capabilities for the Department of Homeland Security's Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Assessment Center by the Homeland Security Council in April 2004. The NARAC suite of software tools include simple stand-alone, local-scale plume modeling tools for end-user's computers, and Web- and Internet-based software to access advanced modeling tools and expert analyses from the national center at LLNL. Initial automated, 3-D predictions of plume exposure limits and protective action guidelines for emergency responders and managers are available from the center in 5-10 minutes. These can be followed immediately by quality-assured, refined analyses by 24 x 7 on-duty or on-call NARAC staff. NARAC continues to refine calculations using updated on-scene information, including measurements, until all airborne releases have stopped and the hazardous threats are mapped and impacts assessed. Model predictions include the 3-D spatial and time-varying effects of weather, land use, and terrain, on scales from the local to regional to global. Real-time meteorological data and forecasts are provided by redundant communications links to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force, as well as an in-house mesoscale numerical weather prediction model. NARAC provides an easy-to-use Geographical Information System (GIS) for display of ...
Date: September 5, 2007
Creator: Lundquist, J K; Sugiyama, G A & Nasstrom, J
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Turbine Inflow Characterization at the National Wind Technology Center: Preprint

Description: Utility-scale wind turbines operate in dynamic flows that can vary significantly over timescales from less than a second to several years. To better understand the inflow to utility-scale turbines, two inflow towers were installed and commissioned at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) National Wind Technology Center near Boulder, Colorado, in 2011. These towers are 135 m tall and instrumented with a combination of sonic anemometers, cup anemometers, wind vanes, and temperature measurements to characterize the inflow wind speed and direction, turbulence, stability and thermal stratification to two utility-scale turbines. Herein, we present variations in mean and turbulent wind parameters with height, atmospheric stability, and as a function of wind direction that could be important for turbine operation as well as persistence of turbine wakes. Wind speed, turbulence intensity, and dissipation are all factors that affect turbine performance. Our results shown that these all vary with height across the rotor disk, demonstrating the importance of measuring atmospheric conditions that influence wind turbine performance at multiple heights in the rotor disk, rather than relying on extrapolation from lower levels.
Date: January 1, 2012
Creator: Clifton, A.; Schreck, S.; Scott, G.; Kelley, N. & Lundquist, J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Numerical errors in the presence of steep topography: analysis and alternatives

Description: It is well known in computational fluid dynamics that grid quality affects the accuracy of numerical solutions. When assessing grid quality, properties such as aspect ratio, orthogonality of coordinate surfaces, and cell volume are considered. Mesoscale atmospheric models generally use terrain-following coordinates with large aspect ratios near the surface. As high resolution numerical simulations are increasingly used to study topographically forced flows, a high degree of non-orthogonality is introduced, especially in the vicinity of steep terrain slopes. Numerical errors associated with the use of terrainfollowing coordinates can adversely effect the accuracy of the solution in steep terrain. Inaccuracies from the coordinate transformation are present in each spatially discretized term of the Navier-Stokes equations, as well as in the conservation equations for scalars. In particular, errors in the computation of horizontal pressure gradients, diffusion, and horizontal advection terms have been noted in the presence of sloping coordinate surfaces and steep topography. In this work we study the effects of these spatial discretization errors on the flow solution for three canonical cases: scalar advection over a mountain, an atmosphere at rest over a hill, and forced advection over a hill. This study is completed using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Simulations with terrain-following coordinates are compared to those using a flat coordinate, where terrain is represented with the immersed boundary method. The immersed boundary method is used as a tool which allows us to eliminate the terrain-following coordinate transformation, and quantify numerical errors through a direct comparison of the two solutions. Additionally, the effects of related issues such as the steepness of terrain slope and grid aspect ratio are studied in an effort to gain an understanding of numerical domains where terrain-following coordinates can successfully be used and those domains where the solution would benefit from the use of the ...
Date: April 15, 2010
Creator: Lundquist, K A; Chow, F K & Lundquist, J K
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

High-Resolution CFD Simulation of Airflow and Tracer Dispersion in New York City

Description: In 2004, a research project--the New York City Urban Dispersion Program (NYC UDP)--was launched by the Department of Homeland Security with the goal to improve the permanent network of wind stations in and around New York City and to enhance the city's emergency response capabilities. Encompassing both field studies and computer modeling, one of the program's objectives is to improve and validate urban dispersion models using the data collected from field studies and to transfer the improved capabilities to NYC emergency agencies. The first two field studies were conducted in March and August 2005 respectively and an additional study is planned for the summer of 2006. Concurrently model simulations, using simple to sophisticated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models, have been performed to aid the planning of field studies and also to evaluate the performance of such models. Airflow and tracer dispersion in urban areas such as NYC are extremely complicated. Some of the contributing factors are complex geometry, variable terrain, coupling between local and larger scale flows, deep canyon mixing and updrafts/downdrafts caused by large buildings, street channeling and upstream transport, roof features, and heating effects, etc. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), we have developed a CFD model, FEM3MP, to address some of the above complexities. Our model is based on solving the three-dimensional, time-dependent, incompressible Navier-Stokes equations with appropriate physics for modeling airflow and dispersion in the urban environment. Also utilized in the model are finite-element discretization for effective treatment of complex geometries and a semi-implicit projection method for efficient time-integration. A description of the model can be found in Gresho and Chan (1998), Chan and Stevens (2000). Predictions from our model are continuously being verified against data from field studies, such as URBAN 2000 and the Joint URBAN 2003 ...
Date: November 2, 2005
Creator: Leach, M J; Chan, S T & Lundquist, J K
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department