Thursday, October 07, 2010

Wind farms can change the weather

Large wind farms can influence local air temperatures, according to a new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The data was collected over seven weeks in the summer of 1989 at the San Gorgonio wind farm near Palm Springs, Calif. The study revealed that the wind farm caused the local area to cool down during the day and warm up at night, according to authors Somnath Baidya Roy and Justin J. Traiteur of the University of Illinois. For instance, on one day of the study, the temperature at 1:00 p.m. upwind of the wind farm was about 100 degrees, but was about 93 degrees downwind, due to the effects of the windfarm. The authors theorize that the turbulence generated by the turbine rotors, which can enhance the vertical mixing of warm and cold air, led to the temperature changes. Because many wind farms are located on agricultural land, the scientists say, local weather changes can affect crop productivity...more

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