Sensitivity of nocturnal low-level jets to land-use parameters and meteorological quantities
The increasing hub height of wind turbines aims at optimizing the wind energy yield at one location and offers the possibility to provide new areas for wind power, for example forests. Inhomogeneous environmental conditions of locations for wind turbines as well as the hub heights of more than 100 m cause challenges for flow models and their potential for wind power assessment. This includes special features of the wind field like low-level jets (LLJs), frequently observed local wind maxima in the nocturnal boundary layer. To characterize the dependencies of LLJs, the micro-scale model HIRVAC2D (HIgh Resolution Vegetation Atmosphere Coupler 2D) is applied in the study. The model HIRVAC2D is capable of modelling different vegetation types by explicitly considering the highly resolved structure of varying plant parameters. Beyond that, the model enables the resolution of temporally variable atmospheric circulation patterns during day- and night-time with typical thermal stratifications. In this way, HIRVAC2D is suitable to capture the nocturnal LLJ development and its characteristics. Results of several HIRVAC2D simulations are presented in order to deduce quantitatively the sensitivity of LLJs to vegetation and model parameters as well as meteorological quantities. It is shown that the geostrophic wind speed is an important criterion for the development of LLJs within a height range between 50 and 300 m. For a geostrophic wind speed of 4 m s−1, a nocturnal LLJ occurs remarkably more frequent as for a wind speed of 10 m s−1. To interpret and evaluate this result regarding possible wind power applications, a frequency distribution of the geostrophic wind speed was calculated over 30 years exemplarily at two locations using the meso-scale model COSMO in climate mode. Additionally, the type of land use has an impact on the height and intensity of LLJs. For a grassland site, the nocturnal LLJ is noticeably more frequent in the considered height range, but with a smaller wind speed and at a lower height above ground in comparison to deciduous or coniferous forests.