Soon we will all live in the ‘Sunset’

Wind Turbines Create Their Own Clouds

It’s hard to believe they noticed this one in England, but apparently wind turbine farms have the ability to create their own fog. The phenomenon has been observed by Mike Page, a retiree flying on board his Cessna 150:

The creation of the mist depends on the wind speed and the temperature of the sea and the air at the time.

The spinning blades whip moisture up into the air like giant egg mixers and sometimes these low cloud formations are made. A close up blade of one of the turbines shows a swirl of mist created around the blades as cooler air is mixed with warmer air. It definitely occurs several times a year, sometimes gathering upwind of the turbines and sometimes downwind depending on the conditions.

The strange thing is that you will see this mist around the turbines while it is a bright clear day on the beach just a couple of miles away.

It is a fascinating example of how wind farms create their own micro-climate. It is the same as any geographical feature affecting the weather.

According to Page, you can observe these fog banks on the farms even while beaches are completely clear a few feet away. [Daily Mail]

Send an email to Jesus Diaz, the author of this post, at jesus@gizmodo.com.

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While I agree with multiple references to Bernoulli’s Principle, along with more complicated thermodynamic mechanisms associated with pressure change, these pictures aren’t doing it for me. I’m seeing precipitates in front of, behind, and 10 miles away from the windmills in all directions.

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I thought the only things wind turbine farms were supposed to whip up is controversy.

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Shamoononon promoted this comment

WINDMILLS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!

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Clearly it’s just there cause God can’t render that many polys at once.

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kagekiri promoted this comment

Wouldn’t this have an effect that would counteract global warming on a small scale? That the turbines are harvesting renewable energy, wouldn’t the mist keep the ocean underneath it slightly cooler than usual? There’s the answer to global warming, just cover the entire ocean with wind turbines. So easy.

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LaraPandion I promoted this comment

are those wind turbines in the top pic built in the water?

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Looks like I’ll be stuck on Uncle Owen’s moisture farm for one more season.. dammit!

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Edited by JrsyDevil’s Advocate� at 02/17/10 6:07 PM

no impact on the environment my ass!!! 🙂

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Shamoononon promoted this comment

This doesn’t make mechanical sense to me. It’s not like a bunch of giant fans are out there “whipping things around”. Their movement is a byproduct of wind that is already naturally blowing.

The only thing they do to the environment is remove some of the kinetic energy from the wind. Maybe, just maybe, the resulting slower wind speeds are causing this, but it seems like a fluke to me.

EDIT: The more I think about it, the more I believe that the system is acting like a giant condenser. Huh… interesting.

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DeadWriter promoted this comment
Edited by mrmcarter at 02/17/10 6:05 PM

Maybe I’m not getting it, but how do they “whip moisture up into the air like giant egg mixers”? If they aren’t contacting the water, how could they grab the water? Since they only move when the wind is blowing them, it’s more likely the wind is carrying the moisture, not the blades somehow sucking it out of the sea.

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The explanation is wrong.

What is happening is that the wind turbine, by design, is causing the warm air to cool, because the air is losing energy. This causes the water to precipitate out into clouds. This is not a big problem.

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So all the NIMBYs that don’t want turbines due to noise, dead birds, and obstructed views are now going to be able to add fog to their list…..

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Sure hope we don’t start finding wind farm mechanics turned inside out.

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LaraPandion I promoted this comment

Don’t clouds trap heat? I’m just sayin…

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LaraPandion I promoted this comment

So all we need to do to save the redwoods from fog deprivation is surround them with wind turbines. Sounds doable to me.

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Edited by m4ximusprim3 at 02/17/10 5:51 PM

The irony is gorgeous. We build things to harness clean, renewable energy sources, and then they create climate change.

Awesome.

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That’s just great.

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According to Page, you can observe these fog banks on the farms even while beaches are completely clear a few feet away.

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