Detecting and Characterizing Simulated Sea Breezes Over the US Northeastern Coast with Implications for Offshore Wind Energy

Geng Xia, Caroline Draxl, Michael Optis, Stephanie Redfern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus Citations


With the planned construction of vast offshore wind farms along the US East Coast, identifying and understanding key coastal processes, such as sea breezes, has become a critical need for the sustainability and development of US offshore wind energy. In this study, a new two-step identification method is proposed to detect and characterize three types of sea breezes (pure, corkscrew and backdoor) over the US northeastern coast from a year-long WRF (Weather Research and Forecasting) simulation. The results suggest that the proposed detection method can identify the three different types of sea breezes in the model simulation. Key sea breeze features, such as the calm zone associated with pure sea breezes and coastal jets associated with corkscrew sea breezes, are evident in the sea breeze composite imagery. In addition, the simulated sea breeze events indicate a seasonal transition from pure to corkscrew sea breeze between March and August as the land-sea thermal contrast increases. Furthermore, the location and extension of the sea breeze front are different for each type of sea breeze, suggesting that the coastal impact of sea breeze varies with sea breeze type. From the wind energy perspective, the power production associated with a 10?MW offshore wind turbine would be approximately 3 to 4 times larger during a corkscrew sea breeze event than the other two types of sea breezes. This highlights the importance of identifying the correct type of sea breeze in numerical weather/wind energy forecasting.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)815-829
Number of pages15
JournalWind Energy Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Geng Xia et al.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-80623


  • offshore wind energy
  • sea breeze
  • WRF


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