A wind energy study of the East and Gulf coastal regions of the United States is being carried out at the University of Virginia under the direction of Michael Garstang and Roger A. Pielke. The Chesapeake Bay area, because of its complex coastline configuration, is one of three East and Gulf coastal areas which have been chosen for intensive study. A three-dimensional computer model and a field observational program have been executed for the Chesapeake Bay area.
Baroclinic factors, the result of land-sea temperature differences and changes in aerodynamic roughness between land and sea, are known to generate local wind circulations over and near coastlines. The complexities of coastline configuration of the Chesapeake Bay and offshore islands result in an interaction between the large-scale wind fields and the locally induced circulations. These interactions produce regions of persistently high and low wind speeds near the surface, and these wind speeds can be reproduced numerically (see cover, EOS, December 11, 1979). A conspicuous and persistent feature of wintertime model predictions of the wind power distribution in the Chesapeake Bay area is the landward minimum-seaward maximum shown in Figure 1.