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Phase 1 - Data Report

Data Report of Wind Measurements Taken 2003-2007 Along the North Carolina Coast.

Sara Haines, Harvey Seim, Ben Edwards, Jesse Cleary, and Chris Calloway

Department of Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

May 01, 2009

Overview

This report summarizes statistics and graphical products for measured wind, air temperature and surface air pressure along the North Carolina Coast and Sounds. Daily and annual variability of wind across eastern North Carolina were obtained by analyzing long-term records from a variety of sources. Data were obtained from public data archives, requested or collected to cover a 5-year period from January 2003 through December 2007. Figure 1 shows the locations of the stations used in this analysis. Table 1 and Table 2 list the sources of data available for this study.

The main objective of this report is to provide graphical views that facilitate the understanding of the long-term wind variability over the region. This report also describes the datasets, data processing and quality control of data used in evaluating the wind energy estimate off North Carolina coast. The full description of the methodology used in the wind power estimation is provided in Seim and Lackman (2009). This data report is in support of the estimation presented by Seim and Lackman. No recommendations or interpretations of wind energy potential are presented here, only summaries of wind data measured.

The following sections provide access to the web-based graphical products, description of the datasets, and aggregration process.

maps/nc-wind-stations-and-nearshore-bathymetry.jpg/image_preview

Figure 1. The NC Coastal Wind Energy Study Area. This figure show the location of stations used in this funded study relative to the North Carolina coastline, estuaries, and sounds. Nearshore bathymetry is plotted to show the shallow-water bottom topography in this region.

Table 1. Table of 10m Station Wind Data Providers

Provider Stations Description
NWS 24 National Weather Service ASOS Stations, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
NDBC 10 National Data Buoy Center Buoy and CMAN Stations (NOAA)
NOS 4 National Ocean Service Water-Level Stations (NOAA)
WF 11 WeatherFlow, Inc
CORMP 3 Coastal Ocean Research adn Monitoring Program, University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNC-W)
Caro-COOPS 2 Carolinas Coastal Ocean Observing and Prediction System, University of South Carolina (USC)
TOTAL 54  

Table 2. Table of Wind Profile Data Providers

Provider Stations Description
NCSOW 11 NC State Observation of Wind Program, North Carolina State University (NCSU)
NCCOOS 1 NC Coastal Ocean Observing System, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH)
TOTAL 12  

Sources

Various federal, state and private programs take wind measurements and maintain sensors. A review of potential sources of wind data was conducted to obtain the most complete list of available wind measurements located within or near the North Carolina coast and sounds for all of 2003 to 2007. Out of 92 specific data records, 66 were deemed usable for the State's wind power estimation of which 12 were co-located (multi-level stations).

Two types of stations were utilized--surface and profile stations. The majority of stations were standard meteorological surface stations measuring wind at or below 10m above station height. The profile stations typically measured winds higher than 10m and had sensors mounted at several heights. Additionally, one station recently installed on the NC coast at Morehead City measured winds using new doppler technology was utilized in this study.

These profile stations provided a rare opportunity to evaluate the vertical structure of the wind at typical wind turbine heights of 80 to 120 meters.

The long-term records from all the surface and profile stations provide the most complete assessment of observed wind along the NC coast covering one-half of a decade. The information about the data used from each of these sources and data providers are summarized in this section.

Surface Observations

Most of the stations (total number of 54) used in this analysis were from near-surface weather stations with anemometer heights often at or below 10 meters above the ground or sea surface. Table 1 summarizes the number of stations and sources of surface meteorological observations used in the study.

  • National Weather Service (NWS)
    • Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) Stations
    • Weather parameters measured are wind speed and direction, air temperature, dew point, pressure, precipitation, type of weather, cloud cover, and visibility
    • Sampling is every minute, however 15-minute to hourly report of current minute observation.
    • Anemometer height is standardized to 10m
    • Used 24 of 25 stations in study area
  • National Data Buoy Center (NDBC)
    • Moored buoys and Coastal-Marine Automated Network (C-MAN) Stations
    • Weather parameters measured are wind speed and direction, air temperature, dew point, pressure, precipitation, and visibility. In addition, water level, significant wave height, dominant wave period, and mean wave direction are reported.
    • Winds are averaged over an eight-minute period for buoys and a two-minute period for land stations. Top-of-the-hour sample is reported hourly.
    • Anemometer heights are 5m on buoys and vary from 10 to 40+ meters on C-MAN stations.
    • Used 10 of 10 stations in study area
  • National Ocean Service (NOS)
    • Water-Level Stations
    • In addition to tide gauges, many stations support measurements of wind, air temperature, and barometric pressure, while some measure additional parameters such as rainfall and water temperature and currents and occasionally water quality parameters.
    • Each six-minute sample data is reported every hour.
    • Anemometer heights are generally around 10m.
    • Used 4 of 6 stations
  • WeatherFlow Inc. (WF)
    • WeatherFlow Coastal Mesonet is a proprietary coastal observing network
    • Site specific station datasets were purchased from WeatherFlow providing critical coverage in areas where large gaps from other sources occurred.
    • Weather parameters measured are wind speed and direction, air temperature, and air pressure.
    • Anemometer heights vary from 7-18m.
    • Sampling is every 5 minutes.
    • Used 11 of 13 stations.
  • Coastal Ocean Research and Monitoring Program (CORMP), University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNC-W)
    • Buoy stations
    • Research member of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS)
    • Anemometer heights are 3m.
    • Hourly sampling is reported every two hours.
    • Used 3 of 3 stations
  • Carolinas Coastal Ocean Observing and Prediction System (CARO-COOPS), University of South Carolina (USC)
    • Buoy stations
    • Research member of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS)
    • Anemometer heights are 3m.
    • Hourly sampling is reported every two hours.
    • Used 2 of 2 stations
  • Water Resources, United States Geological Survey (USGS)
    • Surface water flow stations and water quality monitoring
    • Anemometer heights are unknown.
    • Used 0 of 2 stations.

Profile Stations

A small but crucial number of stations (12) provided multiple levels of wind measurement (wind profile) at the same location near coastal North Carolina. These stations provided wind data at elevations higher than 10m and closer to typical turbine height. Multi-level stations provided an opportunity to analyze the vertical structure near the coast. Table 2 summarizes the number of stations and sources of wind profile observations used in the study. However other sources of potential turbine-height wind data were surveyed but not used.

  • North Carolina State Observation of Wind Program (NCSOW), North Carolina State University (NCSU)
    • Multi-level anemometer towers (2 or 3 sensor levels)
    • Used 11 of 12 stations
  • NC Coastal Ocean Observing System (NCCOOS), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH),
    • Sound Direction And Range (SODAR) system
    • Research member of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS)
    • Vertical resolution is every 20m (80-200m)
    • Used 1 of 1 station
  • Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System (MADIS)
    • Rawinsonde and aircraft profiles
    • Used 0 of 7 stations
    • Despite the long-term record (50 yrs) of two stations (Newport, NC and Charleston, SC), with balloon launches every 6 hours would not resolve daily variations. However, this source can be considered for more in-depth studies.

Data Processing

Wind measurements were made from various types of wind sensors--cup and vane, propellor and vane, and acoustic sounding. These sensors were deployed on various platforms--buoys and offshore towers, water quality monitoring stations, tide stations, airports.

Air pressure and temperature were also assimilated when associated with a particular station but not used in the evaluation of wind energy in relation to atmospheric stability.

This data was used to evaluate the daily and annual wind variability over the coastal waters at the surface and in vertical profile over a wide area. While the amount of data obtained at levels higher than 10 meters is sparse, the information obtained from these few stations is vital the understanding of vertical extrapolation of winds measured at near-surface to elevations even as low as 20 to 30 meters.

References

[chapter1]"Wind Power Estimation" in Coastal Wind Energy for North Carolina's Future: A Study of the Feasibility of Wind Turbines in the Pamlico and Albermarle Sounds in the Ocean Waters off the North Carolina Coast. June 30, 2009. Web. July 16, 2009. <http://www.climate.unc.edu/coastal-wind> A report prepared by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for the North Carolina General Assembly, pp 7-33.

Acknowledgements

This study was directed by the North Carolina General Assembly to evaluate wind energy feasibility. The General Assembly designated the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to conduct the study and is led by Carolyn Elfland, Associate Vice Chancellor of Campus Services, and D. McCarthy, UNC Energy Services.

Funding for this research supported by the State of North Carolina

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Appendix

RAOBs Rawinsonde Observations (?)

http://www-frd.fsl.noaa.gov/mab/soundings/java/raob.short

Ordered by state or province, or country name, then south to north)

Name WMO-ID lat lon elev(m) description
ORF 72308 36.90 -76.20 9 Norfolk Regional, VA/US (??no data)
NGU 72308 36.93 -76.28 5 Norfolk/Chamber, VA/US
NJM 72309 34.68 -77.03 7 Bogue Field Mcal, NC/US
NCA 72309 34.72 -77.45 8 New River/Jack, NC/US (1994/6)
NKT 72309 34.90 -76.88 9 Cherry Pt Mcas, NC/US
MHX 72305 34.78 -75.12 11 Newport, NC/US (1994-2009)
HAT 72304 35.27 -75.55 3 Cape Hatteras, NC/US (1994)
CHS 72208 32.90 -80.03 15 Charleston Afb, SC/US (1994-2009)

Aircraft Soundings

KILM Wilmington, NC, ~20/wk
KORF Norfolk, VA, ~35/wk
KCHS Charleston, SC, ~2/wk

IGRA Additional radiosonde records

Name WMO-ID lat lon elev(m) description
MHX 72305 34.78 -75.12 11 Newport, NC/US (1957-2007)
CHS 72208 32.90 -80.03 15 Charleston Afb, SC/US (1948-2007)

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