794 Benefits for the Wind Energy Industry from the WSR-88D's New Dual Polarization Capability

Wednesday, 9 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Timothy Crum, Retired, NWS, Norman, OK; and E. Ciardi, J. B. Boettcher, M. J. Istok, R. J. Vogt, and A. Stern
Manuscript (2.3 MB)

Handout (5.9 MB)

The NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) and its Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) Program tri-agency partners (Department of Defense, Air Force; and Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)) are implementing dual polarization technology on the network of 160 operational Weather Surveillance Radar-1988, Doppler (WSR-88D) systems. Deployment will be completed in the summer of 2013. These radars provide critical data used to issue severe weather warnings and to create weather forecasts.

The wind energy industry is a key component of the U.S. drive toward greater use of renewable energy. Improving numerical weather prediction models and obtaining accurate real-time weather data are keys in predicting turbine performance and optimizing wind farm output. Most planned and installed wind farms are within the coverage area of one or more WSR-88D radars and, therefore, can take advantage of the many products produced by the radar system. The new dual polarization capability will enable more accurate and specific observations and nowcasts of freezing and frozen precipitation, hail, and bird migration. The WSR-88D is capable of detecting subtle weather boundaries even in clear air, such as dry lines and thunderstorm outflow boundaries. These passing boundaries produce changes in atmospheric density and wind speed and direction that affect the power output of a wind farm. In addition, WSR-88D data can be used to initialize wind forecast models and by forecast service companies for their consideration during “ramp” events.

This presentation and resulting manuscript will: (1) Provide a very brief overview of the WSR-88D and network; (2) describe radar-generated products and data that could be most useful to the wind energy industry; and (3) provide examples of new dual polarization data and products that might further help in forecasts and nowcasts of conditions that could impact wind energy production.

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