Sunday, 22 January 2012
Local Wind Farm Effects on Diurnal Variations
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
With the growing prevalence of wind farms due to the recent push for clean energy in the United States, understanding the effect of wind turbines on local weather is increasingly important. In particular, wind turbines may act to decrease surface temperatures within the wind farm as a result of increased vertical mixing during the day. Additionally, wind turbulence may reduce atmospheric stratification typically occurring overnight and in the early morning hours. A difference of only a few degrees determines the occurrence of frost; therefore warmer conditions produced by wind farms may locally postpone frost conditions creating agricultural benefits. In order to understand these potential effects, atmospheric conditions over a month long period during mid-October to mid-November will be recorded both upstream and downstream of as well as within the Meadow Lake wind farm of White County, IN. A vertical profile of temperature, dewpoint temperature, as well as wind speed and direction will be measured using sensors from wind turbines and multiple mobile weather stations (Vaisala's MAWS and WXT-520). Two MAWS units will be placed outside the wind farm and five WXT-520 units will be placed within. By analyzing these observations over the diurnal cycle both within and outside of the wind farm, a detectable temperature gradient and vertical profile are expected with relatively uniform and well-mixed temperatures observed within the farm.