Gust Factors and Turbulence Intensities for the Tropical Cyclone Environment

Bo Yu; Chowdhury, Arindam Gan
March 2009
Journal of Applied Meteorology & Climatology;Mar2009, Vol. 48 Issue 3, p534
Academic Journal
Gust factors are used to convert peak wind speeds averaged over a relatively short period (e.g., 3 s) to mean wind speeds averaged over a relatively long reference period (e.g., 1 h) or vice versa. Such conversions are needed for engineering, climatological, or forecasting purposes. In this paper, gust factors in tropical cyclone (TC) winds are estimated from Florida Coastal Monitoring Program (FCMP) observations of near-surface TC wind speeds representative of flow over the sea surface and over open flat terrain in coastal areas. Comparisons are made with gust factors in extratropical winds over open flat terrain that are available in the literature. According to the results of the study, for gust durations of less than 20 s, the Durst model underestimates, and the Krayer–Marshall model overestimates, gust factors of TC winds over surfaces with roughness specified in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 7 Standard Commentary as typical of open terrain. Consideration should be given to these findings when updating the gust factors provided in the ASCE 7 Standard Commentary. The study also compares gust factors in TC winds obtained from FCMP data with gust factors in extratropical winds obtained from near-surface wind data collected at eight Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) stations and concludes that, depending upon terrain roughness, gust factors in TC winds can be higher by about 10%–15% than gust factors in extratropical winds. The study also presents FCMP-based estimates of turbulence intensities and their variability and shows that turbulence intensities in TC winds increase as the terrain roughness increases. The longitudinal turbulence intensity can vary from storm to storm and can exceed its typical value by as much as 20%. It is recommended that future TC wind measurement campaigns obtain temperature data usable for stratification estimation purposes, as well as information on waves and storm surge upwind of the anemometer towers.


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