Weather data from wind farms

November 25th, 2012 at 10:03 am by under Weather

Weather data from wind farms will be used to improve U.S. computer weather models and forecasts. Image Credit: NOAA

The presence of wind farms across northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio has been a hotly debated topic in recent years.  Various local areas have weighed the pros and the cons, with some choosing to allow wind farms in their communities, while other areas have rejected them.

In the weather world, these wind farms bring their own set of pros and cons and we’ve discussed some of them here on the blog in the past.  Many of you have commented about our Live Doppler 15 Fury Radar map on Channel 15.3 and the fact that you often see what looks like rain and storm returns around Paulding, OH.  In this instance, the radar beam is actually being reflected off the wind turbines causing the false radar returns to occur.  Occurrences like this one have been a challenge for meteorologists and radar operators across the country as wind farms become more common.

While there are some drawbacks to wind farms, there are positives, too.  For example, NOAA is using weather data from wind farms to help improve our computer weather models here in the U.S., which could potentially lead to even more accurate forecasts.  NOAA has just completed agreements with 2 major wind energy companies (one based in Oregon and the other based in Florida) to collect data from their wind turbines.  The data collected will come from altitude levels where weather data is not typically recorded.  As a result, meteorologists will now have new data to help understand the weather and atmospheric processes.  NOAA made its first agreement of this kind back in 2011 with a wind energy company based in Minnesota.

Click here to learn more and view the complete announcement from NOAA.

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