Building Promise
Iowa Alliance for Wind Innovation and Novel Development


Iowa State University
The University of Iowa
University of Northern Iowa

Iowa State University

Areas of Expertise

  • Mesoscale and microscale meteorology
  • Large-eddy simulation
  • Atmospheric dynamics on scales from global to local
  • Atmospheric measurements relating monsoon systems, including land-based wind measurements and influences of terrain
  • Numerical simulations of tornado and hurricane wind impacts on built structures for validation of the laboratory tornado and wind gust simulators
  • Numerical simulation of other mesoscale and storm-scale meteorological phenomena including organized thunderstorm systems, and near-ground flow regimes
  • Regional climate and its change through a variety of modeling and data analysis methods
  • Soil moisture and surface energy balance
  • Boundary-layer meteorology focusing on turbulent flow through vegetation and influence of solid structures on mean and turbulent wind fields
  • Physical parameterization for better representing cloud and water vapor dynamics in global climate models

Facilities and Centers of Excellence

  • The Iowa Environmental Mesonet (IEM) is a “network of networks” that gathers, compares, disseminates and archives over 300,000 meteorological observations per day from approximately 450 stations across Iowa.  The merging of different networks provides data at high space and time resolution, with observations being available from some networks as often as every minute. This leveraging of existing networks in the state provides a low-cost, high-resolution data source for use in a wide range of disciplines, including the wind-power industry.
  • Proposed Midwest Consortium for Climate Assessment would engage in two-week to nine-month climate forecasts for the US Midwest by use of multi-model ensembles.  The objective of this program will be to more effectively create and disseminate climate information to users in the Midwest.
  • A world-class Wind Simulation and Testing (WiST) Laboratory is being setup on campus. The lab will be a state-of-the-art experimental facility for conducting research, education, consulting and outreach in the subject area of wind-structure interaction. When completed it will be a one-of-a-kind facility for applications in wind engineering, aeronautics and industrial aerodynamics. It will include a wind tunnel with two test sections, aerodynamic and atmospheric boundary layer, along with features that are unique among all university-operated wind tunnels in the nation.
  • A Regional Climate Modeling Laboratory will study climate models based on fundamental conservation principles that are used to simulate regional climate change and variability consistent with expected patterns of global climate change due to increases in greenhouse gas concentrations. Current applications include studies of changes in frequency and characteristics of extreme meteorological events, changes in wind power and solar power availability, and changes in stream flow and flood potential under future scenario climates.

The University of Iowa

Areas of Expertise

  • Mesoscale wind modeling and forecasting     
  • Carbon and climate change science
  • Greenhouse gas accounting and crediting of renewable power including wind
  • Lidar remote sensing of meteorological properties , boundary layer structures, and high spatial and temporal resolution winds
  • Rainfall measuring, modeling, forecasting, and estimation using radar and satellite remote sensing
  • Roadway weather and maintenance

Special Facilities

  • LiDARs consisting of a variety of specialty Raman and elastic mobile instruments focused on atmospheric application
  • Mobile rainfall observatory houses an X-band vertically pointing radar (VPR), satellite antenna, and several computers for controlling the radar and IIHR's 2D video disdrometer, and four new mobile radar units purchased with a recent $1.36 million NSF grant, to make high-resolution meteorological and hydrological observations
  • Micrometeorology laboratory containing a wide range of state-of-the-art equipment used to make measurements of turbulence and energy partitioning near the earth's surface

Centers of Excellence

  • Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research was established in 1990 as a state funded center serving Iowa on issues related to climate change.  It consists of over 70 faculty members from institutions throughout Iowa, and it functions to promote interdisciplinary research related to climate change.  In calendar year 2007 active research grants and contracts of CGRER members exceeded $25 million.

University of Northern Iowa

Areas of Expertise

  • Weather analysis, forecasting and air quality
  • Wind mapping/wind estimation
  • Meteorological Decision Support Systems
  • Severe weather forecasting
  • Optimal location identification for wind energy establishment using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Wind resource potential assessment using spatial data analysis and visualization
  • Spatial feature extraction from LiDAR
  • Deriving and validating the accuracy of LiDAR products such as contour, DEM, slope, and Aspect
  • Providing LiDAR data on the web for the entire state of Iowa

Centers of Excellence

  • STORM Project (Science Center for Teaching, Outreach, and Research on Meteorology) is federally-funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) since Fiscal Year 1999 for a total of $7.46 million.  The STORM Project focuses on weather analysis and forecasting, as well as air quality.  As a result of NOAA, UNI is one of the few universities in the nation with access to select NOAA databases.  In addition, STORM provides online access to graphical surface wind forecasts over Iowa.  The forecasts are produced by one of the main atmospheric simulations operated by the National Weather Service. 
  • GeoInformatics Training, Research, Education and Extension (GeoTREE) is an interdisciplinary center whose main goal is to transfer geospatial technologies to individuals from federal, state, local, and tribal government (FSLT) agencies through education, multi-disciplinary research, and outreach activities.  The Center, funded by NASA, has a dedicated, highly specialized computer lab, with advanced GIS systems and applications; the lab has state-of-the-art technologies that include staff and lab computers utilizing the latest multi-media and RTK GPS.  This facility is also readily available to be utilized for training purposes.  Relevant to Vestas, GeoTREE could be contracted to generate specialized wind maps (in GIS) for assisting with optimal wind turbine location and wind resource potential assessment using remote sensing and GIS.  To date, the GeoTREE Center has received $1.86 million in specially-directed federal appropriations and more than $1 million from the Department of Agriculture, National Aeronautics Space Administration, Department of Transportation and other competitive funding sources.