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posted by Cactus on Friday February 28 2014, @03:31AM   Printer-friendly
from the breaking-wind dept.

Fluffeh writes:

"At the recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford, spoke in a session on renewable energy.

Jacobson was invited to speak at the conference because he has developed a roadmap to convert the entire U.S. to renewable energy using primarily wind, water, and solar generated energy. His detailed analysis includes looking at costs and benefits on a per-state basis, including the obvious benefits to human health from reduced pollution. One of his slides showed a very unexpected benefit, however: taming of destructive hurricanes with the help of offshore wind farms.

Jakobson's study, co-authored by Cristina L. Archer and Willett Kempton, has been published in Nature Climate Change (full text available here)."

 
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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by mojo chan on Friday February 28 2014, @02:40PM

    by mojo chan (266) on Friday February 28 2014, @02:40PM (#8513)

    Some obvious flaws in your arguments, partly because you didn't RTFA.

    The turbines would be placed to help prevent hurricanes building up in the first place. Once one has started it moves relatively slowly, being preceded by high winds that the turbines can again sap. In the event of being hit by a full on hurricane the blades will limit the stress on the turbine to safe levels or just apply the brakes and bring the whole thing to a halt, while still sapping energy.

    Height is irrelevant. Removing energy at the bottom will cause the upper parts to be slowed down due to friction against the slower moving air below. In any case we are only really interested in the wind speed at the bottom. You can try a little experiment to see how this works. Get a glass of water, stir it up and then lift your spoon so that only the end is slowing the upper part of the water. The lower part will slow down as well, not as fast but quite significantly. Most importantly the top part will slow down a lot, which is what we want.

    TFA isn't suggesting wind turbines are a hurricane shield, just that having very large numbers of them would have a measurable effect. There would be some effect on normal weather, but nothing like as much as other forms of energy create.

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  • (Score: 2) by weeds on Friday February 28 2014, @04:37PM

    by weeds (611) on Friday February 28 2014, @04:37PM (#8580) Journal

    I dare say that height is not irrelevant. What effect are wind turbines of a few hundred feet going to have on a storm with a height of 10 miles? (The turbine is about about 3/4 of a percent of the height of the storm) The spoon example doesn't really compare, the spoon is about 30% the height of the "storm", impedes about 50% of the flow at its level, and the flows have pretty much no similarity (Reynolds number.)

    Now they propose putting the turbines out in the Atlantic "where the storms form"?... Most hurricanes that hit the United States begin either in the Caribbean or the Atlantic. Many of the worst start as seedlings coming off the coast of Africa.
    That's a rather large area and at a significant distance.

    Finally, "...bring the whole thing to a halt..." Will result in a large force being applied to the structure and the blades. Even if they are feathered (turning them so they will show minimal resistance to the flow).