September 30, 2011

Alternative Energy

This teen conducted a wind turbine experiment.

Shelby: Have you ever thought about wind turbines and how they affect our weather? Maybe not, but these students may have found a connection. Check this out.

Student: We wanted to measure what the wind turbines did to the weather conditions at the surface. We decided since there are so many wind turbines, there are over 300 of them in our experimental area, it has to do something to the weather.”

Shelby: You may have seen them, usually in an open field. They are called wind turbines, and they are built to generate electricity. They work by capturing energy from the wind. The blades begin to spin creating electricity. But students from Purdue University in Indiana who study meteorology wanted to know more. They put together their own experiment. Here is what they found:

Student: The wind turbines increase the temperature at night by almost 5-degrees and also dry out the air as it goes downwind.

Shelby: Warmer nighttime temperatures mean a frost won’t occur as early, lengthening the growing season. And with drier air, less mold and fungus tend to grow on the crops. This is all because when turbines are spinning, they circulate the air, similar to what a fan does.

Student: It warms the temperature at night, but it’s the opposite effect during the daytime. It makes the air cooler.

Shelby: Milder summer nights, cooler summer afternoons, and slightly drier air all mean a longer growing season and better conditions for crops, which lead to better harvests.

Pretty cool experiment.


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