Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 155, Issue 3, pp 459–482 | Cite as

On the Offshore Advection of Boundary-Layer Structures and the Influence on Offshore Wind Conditions

  • Martin DörenkämperEmail author
  • Michael Optis
  • Adam Monahan
  • Gerald Steinfeld


The coastal discontinuity imposes strong signals to the atmospheric conditions over the sea that are important for wind-energy potential. Here, we provide a comprehensive investigation of the influence of the land–sea transition on wind conditions in the Baltic Sea using data from an offshore meteorological tower, data from a wind farm, and mesoscale model simulations. Results show a strong induced stable stratification when warm inland air flows over a colder sea. This stratification demonstrates a strong diurnal pattern and is most pronounced in spring when the land–sea temperature difference is greatest. The strength of the induced stratification is proportional to this parameter and inversely proportional to fetch. Extended periods of stable stratification lead to increased influence of inertial oscillations and increased frequency of low-level jets. Furthermore, heterogeneity in land-surface roughness along the coastline is found to produce pronounced horizontal streaks of reduced wind speeds that under stable stratification are advected several tens of kilometres over the sea. The intensity and length of the streaks dampen as atmospheric stability decreases. Increasing sea surface roughness leads to a deformation of these streaks with increasing fetch. Slight changes in wind direction shift the path of these advective streaks, which when passing through an offshore wind farm are found to produce large fluctuations in wind power. Implications of these coastline effects on the accurate modelling and forecasting of offshore wind conditions, as well as damage risk to the turbine, are discussed.


Coastal meteorology Low-level jets Offshore wind farms  Stable stratification Wind energy 



The work presented in this study is funded by the National Research Project Baltic 1 (FKZ0325215A, Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety) and the Ministry for Education, Science and Culture of Lower Saxony. The DAAD is thanked for granting Martin Dörenkämper a 2-month stay at the University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada. Adam Monahan and Michael Optis acknowledge the support of the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada through the Discovery Grant Program and the CREATE Training Program in Interdisciplinary Climates Science. The authors thank the Project Management Jülich (PTJ) and the Federal Maritime And Hydrographic Agency (BSH) for providing access to the data of the offshore research platform FINO2. The authors thank Yuko Takeyama for discussions on wind-speed streaks in coastal areas. The authors are grateful to Sonja Drüke, Robert Günther and Stefan Albensoeder for their help in setting up the WRF model.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Dörenkämper
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Optis
    • 2
  • Adam Monahan
    • 2
  • Gerald Steinfeld
    • 1
  1. 1.ForWind - Center for Wind Energy Research, Institute of PhysicsCarl von Ossietzky University OldenburgOldenburgGermany
  2. 2.School of Earth and Ocean SciencesUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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