On the plane ride to Seattle for the AMS conference, I browsed through the recent December 2010 issue of BAMS. The article was titled “Toward Objective, Standardized Intensity Estimates from Surface Wind Speed Observations.” The paper notes, “direct use of surface wind speed observations can introduce significant errors in storm intensity estimates wihtout correction for terrain and instrument response characteristics.” The authors calculate a roughness length, which is a function of the direction of the wind at select ASOS/AWOS stations in the Southeast coast. This helps to standardize wind intensity estimates for the storm, removing some of the land use effects.
I think we need to consider some of their results when doing our inland wind analysis. In particular, when we are trying to improve point forecasting, we need the forecast to include this directional land use effects. However, when we are trying to get a sense of a general gust factor and land decay factor, we need to remove these directional land use effects.
Interestingly, one of the authors, Peter Vickery, works for Applied Research Associates, based in Raleigh, NC. I will probably contact him to get a better understanding of his methodology in order to extend his results to all ASOS/AWOS stations in the region.
The full text can be found here: