Climate Change, Nature, Science

Can Off-shore Wind Turbines Weaken Hurricanes?

Could wind turbines actually weaken hurricanes?
Image: Shutterstock

As one of nature’s most destructive forces, hurricanes cause total devastation for coastal communities. While Mother Nature is unpredictable and uncontrollable, there are researchers and scientists who think hurricanes can now be weakened, or even stopped. The idea: wind turbines.

Research brought forward by the University of Delaware and Stanford University shows that a cluster of offshore wind turbines could reduce hurricanes’ wind speeds, wave heights and flood-causing storm surge.

Not only is this a great way to generate electricity but also these wind turbines have the potential to weaken hurricanes before the storms make landfall. These findings are the first time it’s ben demonstrated that wind turbines could buffer damage for coastal cities during hurricanes.

Unlike normal weather patterns that make up global climate over the long term, hurricanes are unusual, isolated events that behave very differently. Using a sophisticated climate-weather model, the researchers simulated hurricanes Katrina, Isaac and Sandy to examine what would happen if large wind farms, with tens of thousands of turbines, had been in the storms’ paths.

They found that, as the hurricane approached, the turbines would remove energy from the storm’s edge and slow down the fast-moving winds. Then the lower wind speeds at the hurricane’s edges would gradually continue inwards toward the eye of the storm.


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