Long-Term Uncertainty Quantification in WRF-Modeled Offshore Wind Resource Off the US Atlantic Coast

Nicola Bodini, Simon Castagneri, Mike Optis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus Citations


Uncertainty quantification of long-term modeled wind speed is essential to ensure stakeholders can best leverage wind resource numerical data sets. Offshore, this need is even stronger given the limited availability of observations of wind speed at heights relevant for wind energy purposes and the resulting heavier relative weight of numerical data sets for wind energy planning and operational projects. In this analysis, we consider the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's 21-year updated numerical offshore data set for the US East Coast and provide a methodological framework to leverage both floating lidar and near-surface buoy observations in the region to quantify uncertainty in the modeled hub-height wind resource. We first show how using a numerical ensemble to quantify the uncertainty in modeled wind speed is insufficient to fully capture the model deviation from real-world observations. Next, we train and validate a random forest to vertically extrapolate near-surface wind speed to hub height using the available short-term lidar data sets in the region. We then apply this model to vertically extrapolate the long-term near-surface buoy wind speed observations to hub height so that they can be directly compared to the long-term numerical data set. We find that the mean 21-year uncertainty in 140g€¯m hourly average wind speed is slightly lower than 3g€¯ms-1 (roughly 30g€¯% of the mean observed wind speed) across the considered region. Atmospheric stability is strictly connected to the modeled wind speed uncertainty, with stable conditions associated with an uncertainty which is, on average, about 20g€¯% larger than the overall mean uncertainty.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)607-620
Number of pages14
JournalWind Energy Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

See NREL/JA-5000-85203 for article as published in Wind Energy Science Discussions

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-86478


  • lidar
  • offshore wind
  • uncertainty quantification
  • WRF


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