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Wind Energy Science The interactive open-access journal of the European Academy of Wind Energy
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https://doi.org/10.5194/wes-2019-96
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/wes-2019-96
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 03 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 03 Mar 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal WES.

The digital terrain model in the computational modelling of the flow over the Perdigão site: the appropriate grid size

José M. L. M. Palma1, Carlos A. M. Silva1, Vitor M. C. Gomes1, Alexandre Silva Lopes1, Teresa Simões2, Paula Costa2, and Vasco T. P. Batista1 José M. L. M. Palma et al.
  • 1Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP), Mechanical Engineering Department, Rua Dr. Roberto Frias, s/n, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal
  • 2National Laboratory of Energy and Geology (LNEG), Estrada da Portela, Bairro do Zambujal, Apartado 7586, Alfragide, 2610-999 Amadora, Portugal

Abstract. The digital terrain model (DTM), the representation of Earth's surface at regularly spaced intervals, is the first input in the computational modelling of atmospheric flows. The ability of computational meshes based on high (2 m, airborne laser scanning), medium (10 m, military maps) and low (30 m, shuttle mission, SRTM) resolution DTMs to replicate the Perdigão experiment site was appraised in two ways: by their ability to replicate the two main terrain attributes, elevation and slope, and by their effect on the wind flow computational results. The effect on the flow modelling was evaluated by comparing the wind speed, wind direction and turbulent kinetic energy by VENTOS®/2 at three locations, representative of the wind flow in the region. It was found that the SRTM was not an accurate representation of the Perdigão site. A 40 m mesh based on the highest resolution data, yielded at five reference points an elevation error of less than 1.4 m and an RMSE of less than 2.5 m, compared to 5.0 m, in the case of military maps and 7.6 m in the case of SRTM. Mesh refinement beyond 40 m yielded no or insignificant changes on the flow field variables, wind speed, wind direction and turbulent kinetic energy. At least 40 m horizontal resolution – threshold resolution –, and based on topography available from aerial survey, is recommended in computational modelling of the flow over Perdigão.

José M. L. M. Palma et al.

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Status: final response (author comments only)
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José M. L. M. Palma et al.

José M. L. M. Palma et al.

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Short summary
The digital terrain model is the first input in the computational modelling of atmospheric flows. The ability of thee meshes (high, medium and low resolution) to replicate the Perdigão experiment site was appraised in two ways: by their ability to replicate the terrain attributes, elevation and slope, and by their effect on the wind flow computational results. At least 40 m horizontal resolution, is required in computational modelling of the flow over Perdigão.
The digital terrain model is the first input in the computational modelling of atmospheric...
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