Identifying Meteorological Drivers for Errors in Modeled Winds Along the Northern California Coast

Ye Liu, Brian Gaudet, Raghavendra Krishnamurthy, Sheng-Lun Tai, Larry Berg, Nicola Bodini, Alex Rybchuk, Andrew Kumler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus Citations


An accurate wind resource dataset is required for assessing the potential energy yield of floating offshore wind farms that are expected along the California outer continental shelf. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has developed and disseminated an updated wind resource dataset offshore of California, using the Weather Research and Forecasting Model, referred to as the CA20 dataset. As compared to buoy lidar measurements that have become available recently, the CA20 dataset showed significant positive biases for 100-m wind speeds along Northern California wind energy lease areas. To investigate the meteorological drivers for the model errors, we first consider two 1-yr simulations run with two different planetary boundary layer (PBL) parameterizations: the Mellor-Yamada-Nakanishi-Niino (MYNN) PBL scheme (the chosen configuration in the CA20 dataset) and the Yonsei University PBL scheme (which significantly reduces the bias in modeled winds). By comparing the 1-yr simulations to the concurrent lidar buoy observations, we find that errors are larger with the MYNN PBL scheme in warm seasons. We then dive deeper into the analysis by running simulations for short-term (3-day) case studies to evaluate the sensitivity of initial/boundary condition forcings on model results. By analyzing the short-term simulations, we find that during synoptic-scale northerly flows driven by the North Pacific high and inland thermal low, a coastal warm bias in the MYNN simulation is mainly responsible for the modeled wind speed bias by altering the boundary layer thermodynamics. The results of our analysis will help guide the creation of an updated version of the CA20 dataset.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)455-469
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-85243


  • boundary layer
  • coastal meteorology
  • numerical analysis/modeling
  • renewable energy
  • wind


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