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..
Bats, too, from what I've read.....
IIRC, the videos of a windmill shedding a blade and disintegrating do show the internal ribbing (albiet torn and mangled).
Hey, there's a "shovel-ready" sort of job to really lust after - standing under a windmill with a large basket, catching bird chunks.
Bats are sometimes rendered “deaf” by these machines. Not sure of how this happens...
The magnetic field would need to be oscillating near the frequency of the radar beam. You can spin a beam of electrons around that fast — this is how radar transmitters do it. A generator armature would send flying pieces into orbit before it got anywhere near that speed.
My thinking exactly. These windmills are operating at what, maybe 120 rpm? Even three phase it wouldn't approach the distant harmonics of the radar IF.
Home of Dreary Erie - The Mistake on the Lake?
They need to reverse the turbines since the wind there doesn't blow, it sucks!
Traveling through there in the '70's and while waiting at a stoplight, an entire car was swallowed by a pothole.
The blades are mostly fiberglass. Judging from the weather radar vs the Twin Groves Wind Farm in east central Illinois, it seems that most of the interference occurs when the blades are damp.
And we can't have incandescent light bulbs sucking up electricity but we CAN have millions of plug-in electric cars.
My former business partners and I have been looking into the possibility of starting another engineering business that would cater field engineering services to the wind power biz. We were a little less than impressed with what we saw at WindExpo 2009 back in May. We did do a trip to a wind farm under construction out in Texas, though. These things make a weird whistling noise. Pretty annoying, really. I don't know what the hearing range of a bat is, but I imagine there are higher frequencies being generated than we could hear. Maybe that is what is messin' with the bats?
You should see what they do to over the air television reception.
It sure ‘ups’ the cable TV connections... in Hamilton NY, OTA TV was completely unwatchable.
Are each of those radials the effect of shadowing from windmills? Interesting that they all seem to occur at the same distance from the transmitter and at more or less regular intervals around the station......
Below is a one hour animation from the morning of June 8, 2009 between 730 am and 830 am EDT. As you can see, there is a persistent, stationary area of interference in Wyoming county from the wind turbine farm that appears on the KBUF base reflectivity radar image. In situations with slow moving or stationary areas of rainfall/thunderstorms, the wind farm interference could be misinterpreted as an area of heavy precipitation.
We would likely all be sick without those *critters*.
They are very necessary for the elimination of mosquitoes and other pests.
Doppler radar can detect the movement of the blades because of a persistent layer of condensation on the blades, and if doppler radar can detect wind speed (air) it can sure as hell see spinning fiberglass.
Our local Doppler can be lowered to detect drizzle and raised to see the heights of thunderheads. Why can’t they eliminate these objects?
Mostly because the ridges they’re placed on (horizon line) now gets raised and cluttered by another 400-600 feet, and the movement of the blades causes false reflections 2 to 3 times that.