, Volume 135, Issue 1, pp 161-175
Date: 03 Jan 2010

Statistical Downscaling of Wind Variability from Meteorological Fields

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Measurements show that on numerous occasions the low-level wind is highly variable across a large portion of south-eastern Australia. Under such conditions the risk of a large rapid change in total wind power is increased. While variability tends to increase with mean wind speed, a large component of wind variability is not explained by wind speed alone. In this work, reanalysis fields from the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) are statistically downscaled to model wind variability at a coastal location in Victoria, Australia. In order to reduce the dimensionality of the problem, the NCEP fields are each decomposed using empirical orthogonal function (EOF) techniques. The downscaling technique is applied to two periods in the seasonal cycle, namely (i) winter to early spring, and (ii) summer. In each case, data representing 2 years are used to form a model that is then validated using independent data from another year. The EOFs that best predict wind variability are examined. To allow for non-linearity and complex interaction between variables, all empirical models are built using random forests. Quantitatively, the model compares favourably with a simple regression of wind variability against wind speed, as well as multiple linear regression models.