Wind farms could weaken hurricanes, UD research study suggests - Delaware


Nov. 2, 2018 8:00 am

Wind farms could weaken hurricanes, UD research study suggests

Cristina Archer's fascinating study found that wind farms can reduce storm rain by as much as 30 percent. Go figure.

Wind farms may be a secret weapon against hurricanes

(Photo by Pexels user Pixabay, used under a Creative Commons license)

When the destructive force of hurricanes threatens an area, us puny humans are all but powerless to do anything but board up the windows, evacuate the coastlines and hope for the best.

Or are we?

University of Delaware researchers Cristina Archer, a professor in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment and the Wind Power Associate Director of the Center for Carbon-free Power Integration (CCPI), just published a study that says we could potentially reduce hurricane rainfall if the storm has to pass through a wind farm before making landfall.

Theoretically, offshore wind farms could have prevented some of the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, which happened as a result of intense rainfall.

Here’s more from UDaily:

In numerical simulations with a model domain set up to cover the coast of Texas and Louisiana, Archer found there would be regional convergence before the storm hit the hypothetical farms, which would “squeeze out” precipitation before getting close to the coast. Past the farms, there would be divergence, which suppressed the precipitation further.

“By the time the air reaches the land, it’s been squeezed out of a lot of moisture. We got a 30 percent reduction of the precipitation with the Harvey simulations,” said Archer. “That means, potentially, if you have arrays of offshore turbines in an area where there are hurricanes, you will likely see a reduction in precipitation inland if the farm is there.”

Archer worked with Yang Pan and Chi Yan, two of Archer’s former UD doctoral students. The paper was published in the Environmental Research Letters journal.

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