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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  09 Oct 2020

09 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Insights into wind turbine reflectivity and RCS and their variability using X-band weather radar observations

Martin Lainer1, Jordi Figueras i Ventura1, Zaira Schauwecker1, Marco Gabella1, Montserrat F.-Bolaños2, Reto Pauli3, and Jacopo Grazioli1 Martin Lainer et al.
  • 1Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology, MeteoSwiss, Locarno-Monti, Switzerland
  • 2Federal Office for Defence Procurement, armasuisse, Science and Technology, Sensorik, Switzerland
  • 3Military Aviation Authority (MAA), Switzerland

Abstract. The increasing need of renewable energy fosters the expansion of wind turbine sites for power production throughout Europe with manifold effects, both on the positive and negative side. The latter concerns, among others, radar observations in the proximity of wind turbine (WT) sites. With the aim of better understanding the effects of large, moving scatterers like wind turbines on radar returns, MeteoSwiss performed two dedicated measurement campaigns with a mobile X-band Doppler polarimetric weather radar (METEOR 50DX) in the north-eastern part of Switzerland in March 2019 and March 2020. Based on the usage of a X-band radar system, the performed campaigns are up to now unique. The main goal was to quantify the effects of wind turbines on the observed radar moments, to retrieve the radar cross section (RCS) of the turbine themselves, and to investigate the conditions leading to the occurrence of the largest RCS. Dedicated scan strategies, consisting of PPI (Plan Position Indicator), RHI (Range-height Indicator) and fixed-pointing modes, were defined and used for observing a wind park consisting of three large wind turbines. During both campaigns, measurements were taken in 24/7 operation. The highest measured maxima of horizontal reflectivity (ZH) and RCS reached 78.5 dBZ respectively 44.1 dBsm. A wind turbine orientation (yawing) stratified statistical analysis shows no clear correlation with the received maximum returns. However, the median values and 99th percentiles of ZH and RCS show different enhancements for specific relative orientations. Further, we show, based on investigating correlations and an OLS (ordinary least square) model analyses, that the fast changing rotor blade angle (pitch) is a key parameter, which strongly contributes to the variability of the observed returns.

Martin Lainer et al.

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Martin Lainer et al.

Martin Lainer et al.


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Latest update: 28 Oct 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We show results from two unique measurement campaigns aiming at better understanding effects of large wind turbines on radar returns by deploying a mobile X-band weather radar system in the proximity of a small wind park. Measurements were taken in 24/7 operation with dedicated scan strategies to retrieve the variability and most extreme values of reflectivity and radar cross section of the wind turbines. The findings are useful for wind turbine interference mitigation measures on radar systems.
We show results from two unique measurement campaigns aiming at better understanding effects of...