Skip to comments.Wind farms interfering with weather radar in NY
Posted on 10/14/2009 5:26:24 AM PDT by xcamel
During the last several years, New York State has been a leader in supporting the growth of wind energy. As a result of this effort, there have been several "wind farm" projects developed across the region. In western New York, some of the bigger projects include the towns of Sheldon, Wethersfield, Eagle/Bliss in Wyoming county. These farms are located between 20 miles and 35 miles directly southeast of the Weather Surveillance Doppler Radar located at the National Weather Service office in Cheektowaga (KBUF) in northern Erie county. The towers are on top of ridges at elevations that exceed 1600 feet above mean sea level.
Unfortunately, the Wyoming county wind farms and their turbines are within the radar line of sight (RLOS) of the NWS doppler radar in Cheektowaga. The height of the wind turbine towers are about 265 feet above the ground, and the turbine blades extend an additional 125 feet. Hence, the top of the wind turbine rotors are about 400 feet above the ground in western and southern Wyoming County.
At this height, the rotating turbine blades of the wind farm impact the KBUF Doppler Radar beam. As you can see in the above image depicting most of western New York, the rotating wind turbines are having an affect on the radar beam.
A small part of the electromagnetic energy radar beam sent from the radar is reflected back by the rotating turbines. The radar processes this "returned energy" as an area of precipitation and plots it accordingly on the map. This contamination of the base reflectivity image as illustrated in the below image, has an effect on the radar algorithms used to estimate rainfall and to detect certain storm characteristics.
See NWS site for graphics..
The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again!
They will come up with a solution - re-direct the beam higher in that direction?
BTW - I drive by the big white ball everyday!
Since when have weather forecasters been accurate anyway? Where I live, you’re better off sticking your head out the door to see if its raining or sunny......
They can adjust the radar for this just like any other hindrances. (like ground clutter, buildings, etc.)
Or they could also coat the windmill blades with the same stuff used on our Stealth Fighters.
Animal Rights activists won't like it because they'll chop up more bats that way.
But who cares? Those creepy little cave critters spread rabies anyway.
I attended the Windpower Expo in Chicago last May. There were several vendors there that had samples of their blades on the exhibit floor. Everything I saw was made of fiberglass and fiberglass is invisible to RF. Radomes that protect radar antennas and microwave antennas are made of fiberglass for this very reason. What are these blades made of that are supposedly causing the interference? Carbon reflects RF, maybe the blades are carbon?
Most of the blades have CF or aluminum ribbing for lateral strength.
Their 'intentions were good'.That's all that matters. Now get with the program you knuckle-dragging Neanderthals!
I saw that sort of construction on smaller, "back yard" type windmills, but all the large commercial blades I saw were 100% fiberglass. Of course, that doesn't mean that everything out there is all fiberglass. I built a composite airplane a few years ago and I've been into gliders for over 20 years, so I was curious about the construction since the blade is essentially a wing, just like a glider. I would be curious to see if the generator produces a large enough magnetic field when in operation and maybe that is what is causing the distortion?
Yeah. What’s a few thousand migrating birds clobbered by these blades ?
Actually that shredded poultry will be used to help feed the starving masses as the Baraqqi depression grinds on.
Plus all that darn chirping at 4:00 am in the Spring is irritating as heck.
(I trust you know I was being sarcastic.)
True, but the eddy currents (turbulence) when the blades are turning ARE visible to Doppler...that's how Doppler is able to detect winds. Doppler doesn't require a metallic target. It picks up minute particles and droplets that are moving in the winds. When there is little or no wind...no problem, but the stronger the wind, the more interference is created and shows up quite well on a WSR88-D.
Been there...watched it happen. But didn't get the t-shirt.
Yep, you are right. I was thinking specifically of the blades and why they would cause such reflection. I wasn't considering water vapor or wind distortion being picked up by the Doppler. Amazing stuff, huh?
Nearly every one of the 80’ class and larger have carbon fiber leading edges and tips.
Static charge generation is a huge problem, along with ice buildup.
Yes, same thing with cell towers. One of the things I did in the wireless industry was design lightning protection systems for towers. Now I'm wondering how they would drain off charge from the blades? Draining the tower is easy, provided that soil conductivity cooperates. With the blades, though, somehow you have to be able to drain the charge from a rotating shaft that is part of a generator. Interesting.....
We can’t put drilling platforms in some areas of the Gulf of Mexico because someone might see them and be offended.
Yet we can put hundreds of these monstrocities out in nature and it is ok.
I don’t get it....must be racism on my part.
Its illegal to take ducks out of season but these monsters take birds 12 months of the year.