Modelling sea breeze climatologies and interactions on coasts in the southern North Sea: Implications for offshore wind energy

Christopher Steele, Stephen Dorling, Roland von Glasow, Jim Bacon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


Current understanding of the behaviour of sea breezes in the offshore environment is limited but rapidly requires improvement due, not least, to the expansion of the offshore wind energy industry. Here we report on contrasting characteristics of three sea-breeze types on five coastlines around the southern North Sea from an 11 year model-simulated climatology. We present and test an identification method which distinguishes sea-breeze types which can, in principle, be adapted for other coastlines around the world. The coherence of the composite results for each type demonstrates that the method is very effective in resolving and distinguishing characteristics and features. Some features, such as jets and calm zones, are shown to influence offshore wind farm development areas, including the sites of the proposed wind farms up to 200 km offshore. A large variability in sea-breeze frequency between neighbouring coastlines of up to a factor of 3 is revealed. Additionally, there is a strong association between sea-breeze type on one coastline and that which may form coincidentally on another nearby. This association can be as high as 86% between, for example, the North Norfolk and East Norfolk coasts. We show, through associations between sea-breeze events on coastlines with contrasting orientations, that each coastline can be important for influencing the wind climate of another. Furthermore, we highlight that each sea-breeze type needs separate consideration in wind power resource assessment and that future larger turbines will be more sensitive to sea-breeze impacts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1821–1835
JournalQuarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
Issue number690
Early online date25 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


  • sea breeze types
  • WRF
  • offshore wind energy
  • marine weather forecasting
  • southern North Sea
  • coastal jets

Cite this