With the United States being pummeled over the last couple of years with several high-category, high-damage hurricanes, the University of Delaware’s Cristina Archer recently published a paper that reported an unexpected benefit of large-scale offshore wind farms: they lessen the precipitation caused by these devastating storms.
Archer said that while previous studies have shown that hypothetical offshore wind farms can harness the kinetic energy from hurricanes and lessen the effects of wind and storm surge, this study showed that offshore wind farms can also have an impact on precipitation. The paper demonstrates a clear decrease in precipitation for onshore locations that are downstream of a wind farm and an increase in precipitation in offshore areas that are upstream or within the wind farms themselves.
Archer, professor in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment and the Wind Power Associate Director of theCenter for Carbon-free Power Integration (CCPI), worked with Yang Pan and Chi Yan, both former doctoral students of Archer’s while at UD, on the paper that was recently published inthe Environmental Research Lettersjournal.
The researchers used Hurricane Harvey as an example because it brought possibly the heaviest rain recorded in United States history to the Texas coast and caused unprecedented flooding.
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