Wind Turbines & Weather Control

By Jason Meyers, Meteorologist

September 22, 2011 Updated Sep 22, 2011 at 1:23 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Wind turbines are becoming more and more common across the state as our country strives to become more energy independent. Whether you're for or against wind farms, they're here and they have an effect not only on the look of the landscape, but they also affect weather conditions on a small scale.

Nine Purdue meteorology students set out to discover what effects these big wind farms are having on the weather. Their results were published in the "Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research." These students discovered areas with wind farms tend to have warmer overnight low temperatures, cooler afternoon highs, and drier air. This is because of the turbines "churning" the air, not allowing it to settle. It's the same premise as a fan circulating air in your home. These conditions are beneficial to crops, keeping them cooler in the hot summer sun, warmer during those cool fall nights, and drier in moist conditions, slowing or preventing mold and fungus growth.

Another round of seniors will perform the same study this November. But they're adding a new variable: soil moisture. As these turbines continue to pop up across the state and across the country, it's important to know what effects they'll have in those areas where they stand.




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