November 8, 2011 report
Wind energy creating a problem with military and weather radar
(PhysOrg.com) -- With the push for creating green energy, giant windmill farms are becoming more and more common for electricity production. However, the National Weather Service and the United States Air Force say these wind farms are creating much more than energy and are making their jobs more difficult when it comes to detecting storms and keeping aircraft safe.
According to these agencies, the giant wind farms distort the weather radar and military radar, creating blank spots.
When it comes to the USAF, wind farms create issues when it comes to detecting incoming planes by creating these blank spots on the radar. Construction of many wind farms were blocked because they were intended to be built near radar locations. However, politicians began pushing to build these wind farms and help create jobs.
Luckily, scientists from MITs Lincoln Laboratory were able to develop an answer. They developed algorithms and processors that were able to fool the radar. This fix worked by telling the radar to ignore signals from a small area where the wind farms were located.
For the National Weather Service, this makes it difficult to determine if a storm showing up on radar is actually a storm or a mix between the wind generated by the farms and the rain in the area. In many cases, the National Weather Service is left to issue warnings just in case there are storms in the area and there have been false alarms.
When it comes to the National Weather Service, there is no fix for the radar issue. However, there may be ways around it. One idea is to ask the area wind farms to turn off the propellers during storms or approaching bad weather. Another is to install devices on the propellers that measure wind speeds and rainfall, thus eliminating the need for radar in that location. Radar scientists are also working on creating a fix for weather radar similar to the MIT fix for the military.
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