Turbine trouble over researchers’ bad wind

Apr 30, 2012
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A new study has found that long term use of wind farms can potentially lead to local weather and climate change. Satellite data that was taken over a large wind farm area in Texas over the course of a decade found that the temperature increased by 0.72C (1.37F) as more turbines were built. The temperature change could affect regional weather patterns, as well as local wildlife living in the immediate area.

Here comes the science: at night, air closer to the ground becomes cooler, but the wind turbines mix the cool air with warmer air found in the atmosphere, pushing the overall temperature up in the surrounding area. The data, however, isn’t conclusive, and scientists need to perform more research before they can determine the full effects of the turbines on the environment.

Liming Zhou, Research Associate Professor at the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University of New York, detailed the change: “While converting wind’s kinetic energy into electricity, wind turbines modify surface-atmosphere exchanges and transfer of energy, momentum, mass and moisture within the atmosphere. These changes, if spatially large enough, might have noticeable impacts on local to regional weather and climate.”

It comes as wind turbines are increasingly installed in areas across the United States, with Texas said to be the largest producer of wind power China is also heavily investing in the technology, building 36 new turbines every day.

[via The Telegraph]


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