Articles | Volume 9, issue 4
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 1653–1669, 2016
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 1653–1669, 2016

Research article 13 Apr 2016

Research article | 13 Apr 2016

Lidar arc scan uncertainty reduction through scanning geometry optimization

Hui Wang1, Rebecca J. Barthelmie1, Sara C. Pryor2, and Gareth. Brown3 Hui Wang et al.
  • 1Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA
  • 2Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA
  • 3SgurrEnergy Ltd, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Abstract. Doppler lidars are frequently operated in a mode referred to as arc scans, wherein the lidar beam scans across a sector with a fixed elevation angle and the resulting measurements are used to derive an estimate of the n minute horizontal mean wind velocity (speed and direction). Previous studies have shown that the uncertainty in the measured wind speed originates from turbulent wind fluctuations and depends on the scan geometry (the arc span and the arc orientation). This paper is designed to provide guidance on optimal scan geometries for two key applications in the wind energy industry: wind turbine power performance analysis and annual energy production prediction. We present a quantitative analysis of the retrieved wind speed uncertainty derived using a theoretical model with the assumption of isotropic and frozen turbulence, and observations from three sites that are onshore with flat terrain, onshore with complex terrain and offshore, respectively. The results from both the theoretical model and observations show that the uncertainty is scaled with the turbulence intensity such that the relative standard error on the 10 min mean wind speed is about 30 % of the turbulence intensity. The uncertainty in both retrieved wind speeds and derived wind energy production estimates can be reduced by aligning lidar beams with the dominant wind direction, increasing the arc span and lowering the number of beams per arc scan. Large arc spans should be used at sites with high turbulence intensity and/or large wind direction variation.