Journal cover Journal topic
Wind Energy Science The interactive open-access journal of the European Academy of Wind Energy
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research articles
15 Jan 2018
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Wind Energy Science (WES). A final paper in WES is not foreseen.
Analysis of Different Gray Zone Treatments in WRF-LES Real Case Simulations
Paula Doubrawa1, Alex Montornès2, Rebecca J. Barthelmie3, Sara C. Pryor4, and Pau Casso2 1National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, USA
2VORTEX, Barcelona, Spain
3Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
4Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Abstract. When conducting meso-micro scale coupled atmospheric simulations, it is crucial to ensure an adequate treatment of gray zone or terra incognita resolutions in which a large portion of the kinetic energy is naturally produced by the momentum balance equations in the model, while the remaining part still needs to be parameterized. In this work, we conduct three multi-day, real case, full-physics atmospheric simulations that are fully coupled from the meso to the micro scale and in which the only difference is the treatment of boundary layer physics at the gray zone domain. One simulation uses a well-established parameterization, another uses its scale-aware version previously modified to accommodate gray zone resolutions, and a final one uses no parameterization at all and assumes that the gray zone domain can be run in large-eddy simulation (LES) mode. The simulated fields are cross-compared, and further compared to measurements collected during the Prince Edward Island Wind Energy Experiment. Use of LES in the gray zone domain influences the flow fields in a manner that is robust to temporal averaging. The best predictions of vertical wind shear were found for the simulations in which the gray zone is parameterized, and the inclusion of a micro scale nest run in LES mode within the gray zone domains increased the model errors by producing overly homogeneous flow fields. The parameterized simulations also produced better agreement in terms of kinetic energy spectra at the two innermost simulation domains. In the gray zone domain, the energy decays as f−3 throughout most of the spectral range considered. In the micro scale domain, the same is only seen in the low-frequency end of the gray zone spectral range. In the high-frequency end, the energy decay follows a f−1 slope. Outside the gray zone spectral range, the micro scale simulated spectra follow the expected f−5/3 slope and produce good agreement with measurements.
Citation: Doubrawa, P., Montornès, A., Barthelmie, R. J., Pryor, S. C., and Casso, P.: Analysis of Different Gray Zone Treatments in WRF-LES Real Case Simulations, Wind Energ. Sci. Discuss.,, 2018.
Paula Doubrawa et al.
Interactive discussionStatus: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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RC1: 'Reviewer comments', Anonymous Referee #1, 13 Feb 2018 Printer-friendly Version 
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Paula Doubrawa et al.
Paula Doubrawa et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We perform time-resolved, high-resolution simulations of the atmospheric boundary layer with a numerical weather prediction model. The downscaling is done within the model by defining nested domains, and we investigate different ways of treating turbulence modeling at intermediate spatial scales in which traditional turbulence parameterizations are inadequate. We focus on quantities of interest to wind energy and compare the simulations with measurements collected at a complex-terrain site.
We perform time-resolved, high-resolution simulations of the atmospheric boundary layer with a...