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Downscaling and calibration of mesoscale data with Meteodyn WT to build the wind energy atlas of the Loyalty Islands
Stphane Sanquer (a), Cline Bezault (b), Didier Delaunay (b)

(a) Meteodyn New Caledonia, (b) Meteodyn France

The study is devoted to deliver a wind energy atlas for the Loyalty islands (New Caledonia). The reference meteorological data are available at three stations. The paper shows the difficulties of mesoscale simulations to reproduce entirely the thermal effects (sea breeze, nocturnal cooling). Further analysis and corrections are proposed to introduce stability and breeze influence in the results produced by the CFD software Meteodyn WT that includes only topographical and roughness corrections.

Simulations were carried out with the following parameters : Year of computation : 2004, Time step : 3 hours, Size of the domain : 250 km x 200 km, Grid resolution : 1 km, results : wind speed and direction at 100 m above the ground and temperature gradient. The diurnal cycle was caught by the model but hourly velocity amplitude was weaker than the one deduced from the met data.
Mean wind speed amplitude H=100 m above the ground Mesoscale simulations

At each time step, the hourly mean velocity was computed at each grid point at 40 m above the ground from the meteorological data (10 m above the ground). These data were corrected by including the mesoscale thermal effects and the orographic and roughness influences. Mean quantities such as the mean wind speed, the energy density, the turbulence intensity, the Weibull parameters and the yearly production with a 100kW wind turbine were computed on the reference period. The east shores of Lifou and Mar are strongly windy compared to their inland parts. Mean wind speeds reach 7 m/s compared to the 4 m/s of the 10m-met mast mean velocity. Their shores are complex terrains with cliffs and steep slopes that induce speed-up of the flow. The land cover downstream the shore made of forest leads to slow-down the wind. The mean velocity on the smallest islands where cooling effects are weak (Tiga and Ouva) reaches 8 m/s at their east shore. Maps of mean wind speed and energy density (samples)

New Caledonia is made up of one main island and the medium size Loyalty islands. The Loyalty Islands are far enough from the mainland of New Caledonia (almost 100 km) to avoid the electrical net connection. In the context of getting access to the energy autonomy and reducing the energy dependence to fuel supply, the energy department of the Loyalty islands would like to evaluate the green energy potential, especially the wind resource of the archipelago.

Tiga Lifou

With nocturnal cooling, the boundary layer stabilizes and turbulent exchanges from the trade wind circulation to the surface circulation vanish (1,2). With the land heating, pools of cold air disappear and sea breezes appear until the evening with the next cooling of the lower layer (2). The nocturnal cooling does not affect much the circulation at 100 m above the ground. Hence it would be inadequate to use the present mesoscale simulations to deduce the wind behaviors at 40 m above the ground.

Lifou Umean H=40m

Mesoscale simulations and met data H=10 m above the ground

mean hourly wind speed (m/s)

50 km


6 5 4 3 2 1 0 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Local Standard Time 18 20 22 24

Main land

Wind assessment is needed according to the middle level of wind speed measured to secure the investment. The relief is quite flat except the east shore which is made of cliffs leading to local speed-up of the wind. On the other hand, the land is covered by forests that could reduce the wind energy. Two of the islands are wide enough to induce thermal effects that have to be considered to catch the breezes and stability effects combined with the trade winds in the wind simulations. The main purpose of this paper is to present a wind energy atlas in this complex area where topographical, roughness and thermal effects may have the same order of magnitude. The main parts of the study are : Meso-scale simulation to catch the thermal events such as breezes and nocturnal cooling. Micro-scale simulation with Meteodyn WT to include the topographic and roughness effects in the downscaling. Computation of the wind speed and various statistics at every point of the islands for the reference period.

Ouva-Meso Lifou-Meso Mar-Meso Ouva-Met Data Lifou-Met Data Mar-Met Data

Ouva Energy density H=40m

The met data of the narrow island (Ouva) were used to extract the synoptic wind velocity and to highlight the sea breeze and the night cooling contributions on the diurnal variation of the hourly mean velocity for the widest island (Lifou and Mar).
2.2 2.0 1.8 1.6 1.4 1.2 1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0 0 2 4 6 8

Breeze and cooling effects H=10 m above the ground

Sea breeze-Lifou Sea Breeze-Mar Cooling-Ouva Cooling-Lifou Cooling-Mar

The paper presents a method to deliver a wind energy atlas in an unexplored area far from main lands. The method was developed by using Mesoscale simulations, the CFD software Meteodyn WT and day variability of wind at various meteorological masts. The paper shows the difficulty for meso scale simulations to reproduce the nocturnal cooling and its effect on the wind in this area. Further processing was carried out to correct the met data and to include speed-up (breeze) or slow down (nocturnal stability) in the Meteodyn WT results, this tool delivering only topographical and roughness corrections.

DV (m/s)

10 12 14 16 Local Standard Time





The mesoscale model used is the weather research and forecast model (WRF) with the ARW dynamic solver. WRF solves the compressible Euler equations. Analysis data from NCEP-FNL available from 1999 were used to define the global atmospheric behavior without considering the orographic complexity. Four levels of mesh refinement (27 km, 9 km, 3 km, 1 km) were considered (nesting) in order to deliver results on the final grid by considering the behavior of the large scale circulation on the area.

The topographic and roughness effects were included by computing the wind on the 4 islands with Meteodyn WT (3). Orographic data were loaded from the Georep database. Roughness was deduced from Atlas imagery database converted into roughness length via the Corine land cover nomenclature (4). Correction factors were applied to the meteorological data by including sea breeze and stability contributions deduced previously (depending on the distance from the east shore). Cooling effect vanishes close to the shore. For the widest islands, sea breeze is maximum close to the shore and vanishes at the center of the island (convergence zone).

1. Weather regimes and orographic circulation around New Caledonia, J.Fefevre, P. Marchesiello, N. Jourdain, C. Menkes, A. Leroy, Marine Pollution Bulletin 61 (2010) pp 413-431 2. Boundary Layer Development over a Tropical Island during the Maritime Continent Thunderstorm Experiment R. Shafer, Journal of atmospheric science, Vol.58 pp 2163-2179 3. Simulations of nocturnal drainage flows by a q2l turbulence closure model, T. Yamada, T, Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, vol. 40, Issue 1, pp.91-106 (1983), 4. CORINE land cover technical guide Addendum 2000, C. Steenmans , European Environment Agency, May 2000

EWEA 2012, Copenhagen, Denmark: Europes Premier Wind Energy Event