Rain erosion atlas for wind turbine blades based on ERA5 and NORA3 for Scandinavia

Ásta Hannesdóttir, Stephan T. Kral*, Joachim Reuder, Charlotte Bay Hasager

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Leading edge erosion on wind turbine blades is a common issue, particularly for wind turbines placed in regions characterized by high wind speeds and precipitation. This study presents the development of a rain erosion atlas for Scandinavia and Finland, based on ERA5 reanalysis and NORA3 mesoscale model data on rainfall intensity and wind speed over five years. The IEA 15 MW reference wind turbine is used as an example to evaluate impingement water impact and erosion onset time for a commercial coating material. The damage progression is modeled by combining the wind speed and rainfall data with an empirical damage model that relates impinged water (H) as a function of impact velocity to the time of erosion onset. Comparative analyses at two weather station locations show that NORA3 data more accurately aligns with measurements in terms of power spectral density, mean wind speed, rainfall, and erosion prediction than ERA5. NORA3-based atlas layers offer finer spatial detail and predict shorter erosion onset times over land compared to ERA5, particularly in complex terrain. Conversely, the ERA5-based atlas suggests a shorter onset of erosion offshore. Based on NORA3 data, erosion onset time is estimated at 5 years on average for Baltic Sea wind farm sites and 3.2 years for sites in the North Sea.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102010
JournalResults in Engineering
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Rain erosion atlas
  • Wind turbine blade coating
  • Precipitation and wind
  • Empirical damage model
  • Impingement to end of incubation
  • Offshore conditions


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