Wichita Falls, TX – Many of you have been reaching out to us on Facebook, asking when we’ll ever see the rain again. Some of you even blamed the wind turbines in Archer City being one reason why storms are stopping in their tracks and steering clear of certain areas.
Texas is the largest producer of wind energy in the United States, and research on how wind farms affect local, regional and even global climate is a large area of study. After speaking with Texas scientists and climatologists, we found conflicting results.
Troy Kimmel, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geology and the Environment at the University of Texas at Austin said the affect is minimal.
“In the atmosphere, anything you stick up into the air is going to have an effect,” said Kimmel. “But is it going to be enough to disrupt storms around Wichita Falls? My initial inclination would say not in any major way.
One climatologist said differently.
“There probably is a small affect,” said John Nielsen-Gammon, Professor and Texas State Climatologist at Texas A&M. “Basically the wind turbines are obstacles for the wind.”
He said they act as large tress and are designed to slow the wind down and take its energy.
“I would say it probably has a very small affect, but an affect none the less,” said Nielsen-Gammon.
Austin Texas has been experiencing the same weather patterns as Texoma.
“Even in Austin people say, ‘it looks like the storms dissipate as they move across the Austin area and then they pick back up,” said Troy Kimmel. “You know, where is our rain going?”
Still, these questions are not slowing down the debate
Rebecca Dodge, Mid-Western State Associate Professor in Geo-sciences said, “No, I don’t think that that’s possible. It’s not having a regional enough affect. The Archer City wind farm is not going to steer storms around Texoma, making it miss certain parts.”
We tried to speak with B.P. representatives who own the Archer City wind farm, and they said they do not want to be involved in what they believe to be a conspiracy theory.
Whether or not wind farms are keeping rain from falling on Texoma, in the end, the drought continues to threaten the area.
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