An experimental and numerical study of the atmospheric stability impact on wind turbine wakes

Ewan Machefaux, Gunner Chr. Larsen, Tilman Koblitz, Niels Troldborg, Mark C. Kelly, Abhijit S. Chougule, Kurt Schaldemose Hansen, Javier Sanz Rodrigo

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In this paper, the impact of atmospheric stability on a wind turbine wake is studied experimentally and numerically. The experimental approach is based on full-scale (nacelle based) pulsed lidar measurements of the wake flow field of a stall-regulated 500 kW turbine at the DTU Wind Energy, Risø campus test site. Wake measurements are averaged within a mean wind speed bin of 1 m s1 and classified according to atmospheric stability using three different metrics: the Obukhov length, the Bulk–Richardson number and the Froude number. Three test cases are subsequently defined covering various atmospheric conditions. Simulations are carried out using large eddy simulation and actuator disk rotor modeling. The turbulence properties of the incoming wind are adapted to the thermal stratification using a newly developed spectral tensor model that includes buoyancy effects. Discrepancies are discussed, as basis for future model development and improvement. Finally, the impact of atmospheric stability on large-scale and small-scale wake flow characteristics is presently investigated. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWind Energy
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1785–1805
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Atmospheric stability
  • Wake meandering
  • Large eddy simulation
  • Turbulence
  • Lidar


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