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Further evidence of impacts of large-scale wind farms on land surface temperature  

Author:  | California, Environment

[Abstract] Large wind farms are power plants that generate clean energy from a renewable source. They are increasingly being installed and operated to replace and complement fossil fuel power plants in an effort to help reduce greenhouse and other pollutant emissions. Wind energy can have a positive economic impact and numerous locations on the planet are good candidates for wind energy production. Any direct environmental impact of large-scale wind farms needs to be investigated because it could impact agriculture, economics, health, society, and technology. A recent study showed that surface temperature is observed to increase directly downwind of large wind farms. This research, performed concurrently, shows that similar and complementary results are obtained for a different location, and using remotely sensed temperature data obtained from a different satellite, at higher resolution and for a longer time span. Satellite remote sensing observations from Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper are used to study temperature changes over the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm from 1984 to 2011, with a pixel resolution of 120 m. A warming trend is consistently observed downwind of the wind farm.

Jenell M. Walsh-Thomas, Guido Cervone, Peggy Agouris, Germana Manca
Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science, George Mason University, 4400 University Dr., Fairfax, Virginia

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Volume 16, Issue 8, October 2012, Pages 6432–6437
doi:10.1016/j.rser.2012.07.004

Download original document: “Further evidence of impacts of large-scale wind farms on land surface temperature

This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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