Improving Understanding and Parameterisation of the Marine Atmospheric Boundary Layer (MABL) in Near Coastal Regions

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Electronic, Electrical & Systems Enginee


The UK leads the world in terms of the installation of offshore wind farms. However, our understanding of the wind conditions offshore is limited compared with onshore, mainly due to the lack of offshore measurements. The performance and longevity of offshore wind turbines very much depends on the wind conditions in which the machines operate. This research aims to provide a better understanding of the marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL) in near coastal regions where offshore wind farms are frequently constructed.
Present understanding of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) comes primarily from land based observations in flat homogeneous terrain. These observations have led to the development of similarity relationships such as that by Monin and Obukhov (MO). It is becoming apparent that MO similarity scaling may not be appropriate for offshore applications, particularly in non-homogeneous situations with land/sea flows and periods of significant thermal stratification. Key to a better understanding of the MABL are detailed meteorological measurements. Such measurements are scarce, though a number of offshore masts and fixed/floating LiDAR devices have started to be deployed by the offshore wind power industry. Data from such installations are generally commercially sensitive and difficult to access.
The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult recently installed the Narec Offshore Anemometry Hub (NOAH) meteorological mast 6km from the coast near Blyth, Northumberland. This provides meteorological measurements at multiple heights up to 104m above the sea surface. This mast provides wind resource and environmental data for research and commercial testing. In addition, a coastal LiDAR provides profiles up to 170m, appropriate for studying the land/sea transition. The research student will use the data to study the local MABL. This will be supplemented by additional remote sensing data, e.g. satellite as well as operational forecast and reanalysis datasets.
The student will combine statistical data analysis with numerical modelling approaches which will include mesoscale and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) codes to provide a better understanding of the MABL and to develop new scaling relationships more appropriate for the near coastal region (<100km). This project has the potential to make a real impact in terms of a better understanding of the operating environment for offshore wind farms.
The student will work within the Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST). The studentship is a Cooperative Award in Science and Engineering (CASE) in conjunction with the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult at Blyth.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/M009971/1 01/01/2016 31/03/2022
1697649 Studentship NE/M009971/1 01/01/2016 31/12/2019 Sarah Ollier