Winds farms decrease weather radar ability to track storms – puts people in danger

A new report from the National Weather Service says that wind farms have some unfortunate negative impacts on the ability of Doppler radar to track storms.

“Wind farms affect … radars in several ways; first, the turbines can block a significant percentage of the radar beam and decrease the radar signal power down range of the wind farm, particularly if the wind farm is within a few miles of the radar. Second, the wind farm can reflect energy back to the radar system and this appears as clutter or false reflectivity data. This reflectivity can create false precipitation estimates and disrupt precipitation algorithms used by the radar and other software programs. Finally, wind farms can significantly influence velocity and spectrum width data, which can cause bad data sampling of rotating storms and false storm motions, along with impacting algorithms used by the radar to process this data. Since the wind turbines have motion and produce reflectivity, schemes designed to filter out the clutter do not work properly.”

For full story see WUWT here.

The article provides an explanation of Doppler radar theory and several case histories of wind farms interfering with radar operation and interpretation of signals.  This puts people in danger.

Wind farms result in reduction of data quality.  “Meteorologists have noticed impacts to reflectivity, velocity, storm relative motion, and precipitation estimate data with radar located within 30 nm of a wind farm.”  False signals from wind farms limit the ability of forecasters to provide more accurate warnings, especially during widespread storm events.

See also:

Wind Farms Gone Wild

Wind turbines versus wildlife

Big Wind gets “get out of jail free card” from Obama Administration

The scale problem for solar and wind generation of electricity

Electricity generated by wind power may raise temperatures and costs

Wind farms raise local and regional temperatures

Health Hazards of Wind Turbines

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2 comments

  1. As a storm chaser and creator of an Android radar app (Radar Alive Pro), I see a lot of this. Dodge City, KS is a site that is often the best for tornado alley storms. Four wind farms clutter its radar, although the reflection is suppressed on the NWS radar site (no doubt along with actual precip echoes).

    Here in Arizona, we have another form of man made clutter: radar blocking chaff. This is sometimes dropped by fighter aircraft on the gunnery ranges. It looks like precipitation and messes up the climatological rainfall data derived from the radar. It also may “short out” the lightning in some summer monsoon papers – Dr. Robert Maddox (formerly NSSL, then UofA) did a paper and a presentation on that long ago.

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