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Lidar Buoys

Lidar Buoys

Staff researchers aboard one of the offshore wind power research buoys in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

We operate two AXYS WindSentinel™ buoys that feature a comprehensive set of atmospheric and oceanographic measurements needed for offshore wind resource characterization. The system provides great flexibility for user definition and control of averaging intervals for all instrumentation. In general, observations will be recorded the highest rate available for each instrument to allow maximum flexibility in subsequent analysis. In most cases, this is a sampling rate of at least once per second. Key observational capabilities of the WindSentinel buoys include:

  • Wind profile (six user-selectable altitudes to 200 m)
  • Near-surface wind speed and direction
  • Near-surface air temperature, humidity, and pressure
  • Solar radiation
  • Waves: Significant and maximum wave height, peak period, directional wave spectrum
  • Surface water temperature
  • Water velocity profile
  • Water temperature and conductivity profile

These observations are recorded by the WindSentinel's data acquisition system and transmitted via cellular communications (high bandwidth) or by satellite (low bandwidth) to the WindSentinel data archive at PNNL in near-real time. High-bandwidth data, such as the raw lidar data, may be retrieved during periodic maintenance visits to the buoys if the distance from shore requires the use of satellite communications to communicate with a buoy.

Wind Research at PNNL

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