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]
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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.
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.
Looks like I’ll be stuck on Uncle Owen’s moisture farm for one more season.. dammit!Edited by JrsyDevil’s Advocate� at 02/17/10 6:07 PM
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.DeadWriter promoted this commentEdited 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.
The irony is gorgeous. We build things to harness clean, renewable energy sources, and then they create climate change.
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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.