The second Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP 2) was an 18-month (October 2015 - March 2017) DOE and NOAA led multi-agency project conducted in Oregon and Washington states. The goals of WFIP2 were to improve our understanding of flows in complex terrain, translate that improved understanding into better physical parameterization schemes in numerical weather prediction models, and ultimately improve the skill of those models at predicting boundary layer winds. As part of WFIP2 a field campaign took place in the Columbia River Basin east of the Cascade mountains in eastern Washington and Oregon states, an area with extremely complex terrain. The basin is surrounded by high terrain on all sides, resulting in cold pools, gap flows, mountain waves, mountain wakes, and other types of terrain-influenced circulations occurring at many different scales. All of these vary in intensity and behavior depending on the atmospheric conditions, and all present unique challenges to short-term forecasting for wind energy in the region.
We describe the final results of the WFIP2 study, focusing on three primary weather phenomena were identified as the sources of large and persistent wind forecast errors:
Observations and model results from WFIP2 will be used to describe each of these three phenomena, including what we have learned about their structure and evolution, model parameterization changes that have improved our ability to forecast them, and modeling challenges that remain.