Mapping Offshore Winds Around Iceland Using Satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar and Mesoscale Model Simulations

Charlotte Bay Hasager, Merete Badger, Nikolai Nawri, Birgitte Rugaard Furevik, Guðrún Nína Petersen, Halldór Björnsson, Niels-Erik Clausen

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    The offshore wind climate in Iceland is examined based on satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR), coastal meteorological station measurements, and results from two atmospheric model data sets, HARMONIE and NORA10. The offshore winds in Iceland are highly influenced by the rugged coastline. Lee effects, gap flow, coastal barrier jets, and atmospheric gravity waves are not only observed in SAR, but are also modeled well from HARMONIE. Offshore meteorological observations are not available, but wind speed and wind direction measurements from coastal meteorological masts are found to compare well to nearby offshore locations observed by SAR. More than 2500 SAR scenes from the Envisat ASAR wide swathmode are used for wind energy resource estimation. The wind energy potential observed from satellite SAR shows high values above 1000 Wm −2 in coastal regions in the south, east, and west, with lower values in the north. The most promising region for wind energy production is the southwestern coastal region.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalI E E E Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing
    Issue number12
    Pages (from-to)5541-5552
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Bibliographical note

    This work was part of the project “Improved Forecast of Wind, Waves and Icing” (ICEWIND),, supported by the Nordic Top-level Research Initiative (Toppforskningsinitiativet; TFI), including national and private organizations. Satellite data from the European Space Agency, ESA Grant EO-14048 and Grant EO-6773


    • Offshore resource
    • Polarization ratio (PR)
    • Synthetic aperture radar (SAR)
    • Wind energy
    • Wind speed


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