Wind Turbines Heat the Air Around themWe’re wrecking our planet, and green tech is touted as a solution. But one of the major green technologies--wind turbines--might not be as green as we think.
According to research done by Liming Zhao of the University at Albany, State University of New York, the area surrounding a wind turbine is .5 C warmer than average. The study’s data spans from 2003 to 2011, and relied on satellite temperature measurements and FAA data.
The reason that this happens is down to turbulance. See, the wind turbines cause the air to become turbulent, resulting from striking the spinning blades of the turbine. A weak vortex of air forms.
This mixing forces the warmer air above to spiral down to the ground. If it helps you visualize it, imagine a container of separated oil and water being mixed by a small prop at the spot where the two meet. Same basic principle, with one lighter substance being forced down by turbidity.
Of course, the good news here is that the region as a whole remains the same temperature. Because it is a mixing of the air rather than a heating of it, no permanent damage is dealt. The effect is also more pronounced at night than during the day, a time when the air is normally cooler. And the effect is remarkably local.
Still, the widespread adoption of wind farms could prove problematic down the road. Unless wind turbines are redesigned to reduce turbidity, well, they might prove to be just as disastrous as the power plants they replace.