Large-eddy simulation sensitivities to variations of configuration and forcing parameters in canonical boundary-layer flows for wind energy applications

Mirocha, Jeffrey D.; Churchfield, Matthew J.; Muñoz-Esparza, Domingo; Rai, Raj K.; Feng, Yan; Kosović, Branko; Haupt, Sue Ellen; Brown, Barbara; Ennis, Brandon L.; Draxl, Caroline; Sanz Rodrigo, Javier; Shaw, William J.; Berg, Larry K.; Moriarty, Patrick J.; Linn, Rodman R.; Kotamarthi, Veerabhadra R.; Balakrishnan, Ramesh; Cline, Joel W.; Robinson, Michael C.; Ananthan, Shreyas

The sensitivities of idealized large-eddy simulations (LESs) to variations of model configuration and forcing parameters on quantities of interest to wind power applications are examined. Simulated wind speed, turbulent fluxes, spectra and cospectra are assessed in relation to variations in two physical factors, geostrophic wind speed and surface roughness length, and several model configuration choices, including mesh size and grid aspect ratio, turbulence model, and numerical discretization schemes, in three different code bases. Two case studies representing nearly steady neutral and convective atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) flow conditions over nearly flat and homogeneous terrain were used to force and assess idealized LESs, using periodic lateral boundary conditions. Comparison with fast-response velocity measurements at 10 heights within the lowest 100 m indicates that most model configurations performed similarly overall, with differences between observed and predicted wind speed generally smaller than measurement variability. Simulations of convective conditions produced turbulence quantities and spectra that matched the observations well, while those of neutral simulations produced good predictions of stress, but smaller than observed magnitudes of turbulence kinetic energy, likely due to tower wakes influencing the measurements. While sensitivities to model configuration choices and variability in forcing can be considerable, idealized LESs are shown to reliably reproduce quantities of interest to wind energy applications within the lower ABL during quasi-ideal, nearly steady neutral and convective conditions over nearly flat and homogeneous terrain.

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Mirocha, Jeffrey D. / Churchfield, Matthew J. / Muñoz-Esparza, Domingo / et al: Large-eddy simulation sensitivities to variations of configuration and forcing parameters in canonical boundary-layer flows for wind energy applications. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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