Atmospheric Condition Identification in Multivariate Data through a Metric for Total Variation

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Identification of atmospheric conditions within a multivariable atmospheric data set is a necessary step in the validation of emerging and existing high-fidelity models used to simulate wind plant flows and operation. Atmospheric conditions relevant for wind energy research include stationary conditions, given the need for well-converged statistics for model validation, as well as conditions observed less frequently, such as extreme atmospheric events, which are used in wind turbine and wind plant design. Aggregation of observations without regard to covariance between time series discounts the dynamical nature of the atmosphere and is not sufficiently representative of atmospheric conditions. Identification and characterization of continuous time periods with atmospheric conditions that have a high value for analysis or simulation set the stage for more advanced model validation and the development of real-time control and operational strategies. The current work explores a single metric for variation in a multivariate data sample that quantifies variability within each channel as well as covariance between channels. The total variation is used to identify conditions of interest that conform to desired objective functions, such as stationary conditions, ramps or waves of wind speed, and changes in wind direction. Total variation is somewhat sensitive to the presence of outliers in the input data, and the method is best complemented by quality-control procedures to ensure reliable results. The direct detection and classification of events or conditions of interest within atmospheric data sets is vital to developing our understanding of wind plant response and to the formulation of forecasting and control models.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1019-1032
Number of pages14
JournalAtmospheric Measurement Techniques
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Institute of Physics Inc.. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-73703


  • atmospheric data
  • covariance
  • data set
  • modeling
  • PCA
  • time series
  • wind energy


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