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The NCAS wind profiling radar has been deployed to Portugal as part of a project to help the wind-energy industry harvest wind more effectively. The radar will be used alongside instruments from the EU and US to collect information about how wind flows over complex terrains such as mountains and ridges.

The Perdigao field project in Portugal is a large-scale collaboration between European and US scientists to improve weather forecasting models. One of the major outcomes will be the creation of a New European Wind Atlas (NEWA). Scientists will create the New European Wind Atlas based on improved models of how wind flows around different terrain. This resource will provide the renewable energy sector with a better idea of where to place wind turbines based on the duration, strength and direction of winds.

The Perdigao project aims to improve wind prediction models on a micro-scale (a resolution of tens to hundreds of metres), whereas previous research has tended to look at improving forecasts on a meso-scale (a resolution of kilometres). Scientists hope to improve their understanding of the physics behind the wind by analysing very detailed observations. The improved prediction models created by the project will not only contribute towards a New European Wind Atlas, but could also help tackle air pollution, contaminant dispersion and aviation issues.

The NCAS radar will be measuring winds between 150m and 3500m depending on atmospheric conditions, and will spend six weeks in Portugal over May and June. It is due to return home on 16th June 2017.