Hurricanes are projected to get ever more fierce and destructive, but researchers say offshore wind farms can tame those tempests and protect coastal cities.
Scientists at Stanford University and the University of Delaware used sophisticated computer models to determine that wind turbines could have deflated three of the biggest recent U.S. hurricanes -- Sandy, Isaac and Katrina.
"We found that when wind turbines were present, they slow down the outer rotation winds of a hurricane," Mark Jacobson at Stanford told EcoBusiness. "This feeds back to decrease wave height, which reduces movement of air toward the center of the hurricane, increasing the central pressure, which in turn slows down the winds of the entire hurricane and dissipates it faster."
Or, as Cristina Archer at Delaware put it: "The little turbines can fight back the beast."
Weaker hurricanes mean less devastating wind, surge and flood damage along the coasts.
And not only that.
Researchers say another crucial benefit is all that energy those tempest-fed turbines can generate. They claim that 4 million turbines strategically placed around the globe could generate half the world's energy -- or more -- by 2030, with little adverse atmospheric effect.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun