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The development of offshore wind projects off the US northeast coast requires a comprehensive assessment of extreme loads generated by hurricanes. In this study, we demonstrated that using simplified methods based on observed data at nearby stations (e.g., measure-correlate-predict algorithms) to assess wind and wave loads during extreme conditions may lead to significant errors. We used an advanced ocean modeling system (COAWST: Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Wave Sediment Transport) to assess environmental loading at the proposed wind farm sites offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts. After validation of the COAWST model using historical hurricanes (e.g., Hurricane Sandy in 2012), a number of synthetic tropical storms that represented wind with various probabilities (e.g., 50-year return period) were simulated. The spatial and temporal variability of the wind and wave loads within the proposed sites were assessed. Nearly 40% variability of wave loads was shown in the proposed sites. The results indicated the advantage of more advanced modeling systems for extreme load characterization, in which wind and wave fields in offshore wind farms can be resolved.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.