Sunday, 22 January 2012
Wind Farms and Their Effects on Soil Moisture
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Wind farms are rapidly emerging as a source of green energy in the US, but there has been little discussion of their environmental impacts. One of these possible impacts involves drying of the air and the soil around it. An existing theory states that turbulent mixing causes changes in humidity through the wind farm and downstream of it. We will explore to better understand these effects on farm lands, which is important for agricultural purposes. This experiment will measure soil moisture both upstream and downstream of a wind farm in Northwestern Indiana in White county to determine the effects of wind turbines on soil moisture. Additionally, temperature, pressure, humidity, precipitation, wind speed, and direction will also be measured. Measurements will be taken at ten minute intervals for all measurements except for soil moisture which will be taken hourly. The data will be recorded for four weeks during mid-October to mid-November of 2011. We expect to see that wind farms in open farmland will reduce soil moisture and atmospheric humidity downwind as a result of turbulent mixing by the wind turbines.