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How was the 5 km global wind dataset created?

Covering all continental and near-shore areas between 60° S and 70° N, 3TIER's global wind dataset is the first high-resolution, wind resource assessment to use a consistent methodology across the entire globe. The spatial resolution is 2 arc minutes (approximately 5 km) and the dataset was created using a 10-year numerical weather prediction (NWP) model run.

3TIER, essentially, integrated statistical methods with the power of physically based numerical weather prediction (NWP) models, which simulate the interaction between the entire atmosphere and the earth's surface, to create a more robust and accurate wind climatology. 3TIER's technique captures the myriad processes responsible for wind—from jet level dynamics to surface level processes and everything in between. 3TIER is able to create realistic wind fields throughout the world, with the results especially enlightening in regions where observations are not available.

3TIER's NWP models are generated through computer simulations. The models use numerical methods to obtain approximate answers to mathematical equations that describe the physics and dynamics of the atmosphere. To solve these equations for different locations on the globe, the atmosphere is divided into many small elements, both horizontally and vertically. The model computes what happens within each model element and how much mass, energy, and momentum is exchanged between the model elements.

To resolve the effects of small-scale terrain features on near-surface wind speed and direction with the most precision, model elements must be kept small. Unfortunately, very small model elements require added computer time, and the problem quickly becomes too large even for today's most advanced supercomputers. To strike a balance between the need to resolve small-scale terrain features and the need to reduce the computational demand, the dataset combines a number of different NWP model simulations. In addition, 3TIER used observational data to both calibrate and validate the final dataset. Find our validation papers here.

In addition to what is shown by the Wind Prospecting Tools, the final global wind dataset includes extended information such as: hourly wind speed, wind direction, air temperature, and air pressure for hub heights of 20 meters, 50 meters, and 80 meters.

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