Perturbations to the spatial and temporal characteristics of the diurnally-varying atmospheric boundary layer due to an extensive wind farm

V. Sharma, M. B. Parlange, M. Calaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of extensive terrestrial wind farms on the spatio-temporal structure of the diurnally-evolving atmospheric boundary layer is explored. High-resolution large-eddy simulations of a realistic diurnal cycle with an embedded wind farm are performed. Simulations are forced by a constant geostrophic velocity with time-varying surface boundary conditions derived from a selected period of the CASES-99 field campaign. Through analysis of the bulk statistics of the flow as a function of height and time, it is shown that extensive wind farms shift the inertial oscillations and the associated nocturnal low-level jet vertically upwards by approximately 200 m; cause a three times stronger stratification between the surface and the rotor-disk region, and as a consequence, delay the formation and growth of the convective boundary layer (CBL) by approximately 2 h. These perturbations are shown to have a direct impact on the potential power output of an extensive wind farm with the displacement of the low-level jet causing lower power output during the night as compared to the day. The low-power regime at night is shown to persist for almost 2 h beyond the morning transition due to the reduced growth of the CBL. It is shown that the wind farm induces a deeper entrainment region with greater entrainment fluxes. Finally, it is found that the diurnally-averaged effective roughness length for wind farms is much lower than the reference value computed theoretically for neutral conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-282
Number of pages28
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Atmospheric boundary layer
  • Diurnal cycles
  • General circulation models
  • Terrestrial wind farms
  • Wind-farm control

Cite this