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Department of Atmospheric Science

Thurs., June 23, 3:10, EN1044

The Effects of Terrain Representation in WRF on Modeling Winds in Complex Terrain

Adam Tripp

University of Wyoming


To better understand wind energy prediction capabilities of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, this study aims to investigate the influence of topography data on WRF’s simulated wind resource over Wyoming complex terrain. Two Digital Elevation Model (DEM) datasets are employed – United States Geographical Survey (USGS) 30 arc-second and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) 3 arc-second. To individually test the two DEMs, the WRF model is run twice, resulting in WRF-30s and WRF-3s, for one strong-wind event: 1 February 2012. Quantitatively, both the WRF-30s and WRF-3s runs underestimate wind speed. While the WRF-3s run demonstrates some relative improvement, the resolution increase of topographical data alone is not enough to significantly improve model performance. Both the WRF-30s and the WRF-3s model runs were able to usefully forecast the sub-hourly wind resource, at a hub height of 60 m, over an area of complex terrain during a 24-hour period.

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