Wind Fields in Category 1-3 Tropical Cyclones Are Not Fully Represented in Wind Turbine Design Standards

Miguel Sanchez Gomez, Julie Lundquist, Georgios Deskos, Sanjay Arwade, Andrew Myers, Jerome Hajjar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus Citations


Offshore wind energy deployment in the U.S. is expected to increase in the years to come, with proposed wind farm sites located in regions with high risk for tropical cyclones. Yet, the wind turbine design criteria outlined by the International Electrotechnical Commission for extreme events may not account for wind field characteristics unique to tropical cyclones. To evaluate if current design standards capture the extreme conditions of these storms, we perform idealized large-eddy simulations of five tropical cyclones (two Category 1, two Category 2 (Cat-2), and one Category 3 (Cat-3) storms) using the Weather Research and Forecasting model. Wind conditions near the eyewall of Cat-1, Cat-2, and Cat-3 storms can exceed current design standards for offshore wind turbines. Winds at 90 m can be faster than outlined in the design criteria for Class I and Class T turbines for 50-year recurrence periods. Wind speed shear across the turbine rotor layer is also larger than assumed in design specifications. Moreover, vertical variations in wind direction across the turbine rotor layer are large for tropical cyclones of all intensity levels, suggesting design standards should include veer, which can amplify loads in wind turbines. The existence of hurricane wind field characteristics that are not represented in design standards does not imply that damage or failure will certainly occur. Engineering safety factors incorporated in the design of the turbine's blades and structural components may prevent damage from occurring.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere2023JD039233
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number16
StatePublished - 27 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023. The Authors.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-86855


  • large-eddy simulations
  • offshore wind energy
  • tropical cyclones
  • wind turbine design standards


Dive into the research topics of 'Wind Fields in Category 1-3 Tropical Cyclones Are Not Fully Represented in Wind Turbine Design Standards'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this