Understanding Low Level Jets in the US Atlantic Offshore

Research output: NRELPresentation


Low level jets (LLJs) in the atmosphere exhibit a local windspeed maximum in the boundary layer, with positive shear beneath the jet and negative shear above the jet. Wind turbines tend to experience increased loads with varying wake recovery characteristics in the presence of an LLJ, therefore understanding the mechanism and impact of LLJs is crucial to wind energy development. The US Mid-Atlantic offshore region is a huge potential wind energy resource, yet LLJs in this area are poorly understood. In particular, the coastal offshore environment does not exhibit the same diurnal cycle that leads to strong LLJs in the well-characterized Great Plains region. In this study, we use the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) plus lidar buoy data to identify case studies for LLJ events in 2020 in the New York Bight. A reduced order model is presented to explain the onset of these events based on the competing effects of baroclinicity and eddy diffusivity. Finally, using the macro-scale WRF, we drive a micro-scale large eddy simulation (LES) to generate a more detailed characterization of the Marine Boundary Layer during an LLJ. Gaining a better understanding of LLJs and their impacts on offshore wind in the mid-Atlantic is crucial for a transition toward renewable energy.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePresented at the Rocky Mountain Fluid Mechanics (RMFM) Research Symposium, 10 August 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-2C00-80876


  • atmospheric boundary layer
  • baroclinicity
  • inertial oscillations
  • low level jets


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