By Cameron Chai
Research group from the University of Albany, State University of New York and other companies has conducted a study on the land surface temperature in the Texas region. The study was conducted using Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) equipments on Terra and Aqua satellites from NASA.
The researchers studied the Texas region, which consists of four of the largest wind farms worldwide. They observed an increase in the temperature during the study period, 2003-2011. The researchers believe that temperature increase is due to the local meteorological impact of the turbines.
According to Liming Zhou, University of Albany, State University of New York and lead author, when compared to adjacent regions without wind farms, the temperature has been increased by 0.72 °C in 10 years. This increase may be due to the turbulence in turbine wakes, which acts like fans to bring down warm air from greater altitudes during the night, he added.
Using MODIS, it was found that the warming took place in the night. Usually, in the Texas region, the land surface temperature cools down rapidly when compared to air temperature. However, due to the continuous turning action of the wind turbines, warm air is brought to the land surface, thus, warming the land surface. Further, the researchers anticipated a cooling effect during the day, but the results demonstrated slight warming or no impact.
Moreover, Zhou stated that the warming effect is meant for the particular area and only when wind farms are operational. This data must not be applied to other landscapes or regions and must not be projected for a long period, since the warming may hike up instead of increasing if wind turbines are not added. Furthermore, the warming is a local effect and does not have any global effect.
The paper has been published in the journal, Nature Climate Change.