Quantifying the Impacts of Land Surface Modeling on Hub-Height Wind Speed under Different Soil Conditions

Geng Xia, Caroline Draxl, Larry Berg, David Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus Citations


We investigate the impact of three land surface models (LSMs) on simulating hub-height wind speed under three different soil regimes (dry, wet, and frozen) to improve understanding of the physics of wind energy forecasts using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. A 6-day representative period is selected for each soil condition. The simulated wind speed, surface energy budget, and soil properties are compared with the observations collected from the secondWind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP2). For the selected cases, our simulation results suggest that the impact of LSMs on hub-height wind speed are sensitive to the soil states but not so much to the choice of LSM. The simulated hubheight wind speed is in much better agreement with the observations for the dry soil case than the wet and frozen soil cases. Over the dry soil, there is a strong physical connection between the land surface and hub-height wind speed through nearsurface turbulent mixing. Over the wet soil, the simulated hub-height wind speed is less impacted by the land surface due to weaker surface fluxes and large-scale synoptic disturbances. Over the frozen soil, the LSM seems to have limited impact on hub-height wind speed variability due to the decoupling of the land surface with the overlying atmosphere. Two main sources of modeling uncertainties are proposed. The first is the insufficient model physics representing the surface energy budget, especially the ground heat flux, and the second is the inaccurate initial soil states such as soil temperature and soil moisture.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3101-3118
Number of pages18
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Meteorological Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-78002


  • Atmosphere-land interaction
  • Land surface model
  • Mesoscale models
  • Model evaluation/performance


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