The effect of wind forcing on modeling coastal circulation at a marine renewable test site
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Ren, Lei; Nagle, Diarmuid; Hartnett, Michael; Nash, Stephen (2017). The effect of wind forcing on modeling coastal circulation at a marine renewable test site. Energies 10 (12),
The hydrodynamic circulation in estuaries is primarily driven by tides, river inflows and surface winds. While tidal and river data can be quite easily obtained for input to hydrodynamic models, sourcing accurate surface wind data is problematic. Inaccurate wind data can lead to inaccuracies in the surface currents computed by three-dimensional hydrodynamic models. In this research, a high-resolution wind model was coupled with a three-dimensional hydrodynamic model of Galway Bay, a semi-enclosed estuary on the west coast of Ireland, to investigate the effect of wind forcing on model accuracy. Two wind-forcing conditions were investigated: (1) using wind data measured onshore on the NUI Galway campus (NUIG) and (2) using offshore wind data provided by a high resolution wind model (HR). A scenario with no wind forcing (NW) was also assessed. The onshore wind data varied with time but the speed and direction were applied across the full model domain. The modeled offshore wind fields varied with both time and space. The effect of wind forcing on modeled hydrodynamics was assessed via comparison of modeled surface currents with surface current measurements obtained from a High-Frequency (HF) radar Coastal Ocean Dynamics Applications Radar (CODAR) observation system. Results indicated that winds were most significant in simulating the north-south surface velocity component. The model using high resolution temporally-and spatially-varying wind data achieved better agreement with the CODAR surface currents than the model using the onshore wind measurements and the model without any wind forcing.