NOAA/NWS document: wind turbines affect weather radar, create false storm impressions

From the Watertown Daily News, and the “law of unintended consequences” department comes an inconvenient truth from the National Weather Service, that upon further investigation appears to be a nationwide problem for the WSR-88D doppler weather radar network used to predict, track, and analyze severe weather. According to NOAA’s Radar operations center, forecasters are faced with “little or no workaround”.

Part of the reason is that the WSR-88D national deployment in the early to mid 1990’s preceded the mass deployment of wind turbines to provide “green energy”. They had no way of knowing then that their field of view would be polluted by an army of rotating blades.

h/t to John Droz for the Watertown Daily News article below.

Document from the National Weather Service lists possible radar interference impact from wind turbines


WATERTOWN — A new document from the National Weather Service expands on potential interference with the weather radar in Montague, used by personnel at Fort Drum.

In addition to the Buffalo and Burlington, Vt. weather stations which cover Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, the document lists impacts to the Albany and Binghamton National Weather Service stations, which also use the Montague KTYX radar.

Among the possible concerns listed in the document for the Binghamton station is that beam blockage from wind turbines could hamper tracking of thunderstorms in Oneida and Madison counties, delaying tornado warnings. It could also make it difficult to track lake effect snow and rainfall, which in turn could delay travel advice and flash flood warnings.

For the Albany station, the document said that clutter from turbines could create false storm identification and tracking over Lewis and northern Herkimer counties, as well as possibly masking lake effect snow.

The document was sent out by Jessica A. Schultz with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and lists the possible impact of wind turbines for the four NWS weather stations that use the weather radar. According to documents published online by NOAA, Ms. Schultz works at the NOAA NWS Radar Operations Center in Oklahoma. Although the document itself is unsigned, the document’s properties list the author as being a JSchultz.

Read more here

Here is the document from the NWS, which according to the document properties was created by JSchultz – also reproduced below.

KTYX Wind Farm Impacts

There are 4 National Weather Service (NWS) offices that use the Fort Drum KTYX radarto accomplish their mission of protection of life and property in the nearby counties.These offices are: NWS Albany, NWS Buffalo, NWS Binghamton, NWS Burlington.

NWS Albany Impacts:
  • The turbines can cause beam blockage and under-sampling of the radar echoesdownstream (25-30 nautical miles) into northern Herkimer County.
  • Precipitation underestimate is likely (warm and cool season) in lake effect andwidespread precipitation events.
  • Turbines can also cause partial beam blockage impacting dual polarization data,and display large amounts of erroneous data.
  • Downstream turbine clutter can impact precipitation data by over/underestimation, incorrect wind speed data, and false storm identification andtracking over Lewis County before moving into northern Herkimer County.
  • In the winter, lake effect snow features could be masked or underestimated,negatively impacting warnings and advisories.
  • During severe weather, erroneous data (especially wind velocities) can impactearly detection and warnings of high winds, hail, and tornadoes

NWS Buffalo Impacts:

  • The height of existing turbine towers and turbines’ spinning blades are causing beam blockage and under-sampling of the radar echoes downstream for Jefferson,Lewis, and Oswego counties.
  • Resulting precipitation estimates in the vicinity of turbines are not useable, while precipitation estimates downstream have been degraded.
  • Turbines are causing partial beam blockage impacting dual polarization products.This results in large amounts of erroneous data.
  • Additional turbine installations will nearly surround the radar, further exacerbating these issues and will make radar interpretation and the detection ofsevere weather increasingly difficult.
  • Wind turbine clutter has a negative impact on several radar capabilities:

o Precipitation estimation algorithms produce false estimates.

o Velocity products are often not useable near the turbines, particularly during severe weather.

o This can cause false and/or missed detection of tornadoes by radar algorithms and forecasters.

  • Thunderstorm or winter storm characteristics will be further masked or misinterpreted, reducing warning effectiveness in the vicinity of and downrangeof existing and future wind turbines.
  • False signatures contaminating Doppler velocity data will further reduce forecasters’ situational awareness, especially during hazardous weather events.
  • Potential radar relocation, particularly east or northeast from the current location will further reduce radar coverage south of Lake Ontario from Monroe, Wayne and Cayuga counties, with completely unseen lake effect events by radar. In any move, beam blockage will continue to be an issue near and over the Tug Hill Plateau.

NWS Binghamton Impacts:

  • The beam blockage will hamper our abilities to detect thunderstorm circulations in Oneida/Madison Counties and hence tornado warnings could be delayed. It is important that we have good radar coverage in Oneida/Madison Counties because there is a local maximum in tornadoes in these areas since the Mohawk Valley will often skew winds to the southeast leading to increased atmospheric rotation.
  • Thunderstorm or winter storm characteristics will be further masked or misinterpreted, reducing warning effectiveness in the vicinity of and down range of existing and future wind turbines.
  • False signatures contaminating Doppler velocity data will further reduce forecasters’ situational awareness, especially during hazardous weather events.
  • The beam blockage could also significantly hamper our ability to forecast and detect lake effect snow. Oneida County (especially northern Oneida County) sees more than 200″ of snow per year on average and is one of the snowiest places east of the Rockies. The beam blockage could affect our ability to detect lake effect snow along the NY State Thruway between Syracuse and Utica of which is a major travel corridor. Our office provides almost daily briefings to the NYS Thruway Authority when a lake effect snow pattern is present. Significant beam blockage could erode our ability to time and track heavy lake effect snow bands that severely impact travel which would lead to less accurate decision support to the Thruway Authority.
  • Oneida and Madison Counties have a history of severe local flash flooding and beam blockage will hamper our ability to accurately estimate rainfall in thesecounties which would negatively impact the timeliness of flash flood warnings.

NWS Burlington Impacts:

  • Wind turbines close to the radar close to the radar cause some uncertainty/confusion about actual storm characteristics while monitoring storms that are moving north or northeast. This can delay warnings, resulting in a lower lead time prior to the storm reaching St. Lawrence or Franklin Counties.
  • The wind turbines “look” like precipitation, even on a clear day. This can cause confusion to users of the data, including the media, pilots, and general public.
  • If the radar is forced to be relocated because of wind turbines, concerns would be magnified. Any move to the east or south of the current location would result reduced radar coverage over St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties. This would mean poorer detection of lake effect snow and low level severe weather features,such as tornadoes, high winds, and hail.

It seems the issue isn’t limited to New York, the NWS has also been investigating wind turbine impacts on weather radars in the midwest. From the NOAA WSR-88D Operations center:


Rotating wind turbine blades can impact the radar in several ways. Wind turbines can impact the NEXRAD radar base data, algorithms, and derived products when the turbine blades are moving and in the radar’s line of sight (RLOS); and, if turbines are sited very near to the radar their large nacelles and blades can also physically block the radar beam or reflect enough energy back to the radar to damage the radar’s receiver hardware.

Radar Receiver: The NEXRAD radar has a very sensitive receiver. The radar’s Receiver Protector prevents damage from strong reflected signals; however its upper limit is 53 dBm. Large objects sited very near the radar (< 4 km), such as turbine nacelles, have the potential to return signals that exceed the limit of receiver protector and render the radar inoperable.

Beam Blockage: If sited within a few kilometers of the radar, wind turbines can partially or fully block the radar beam. This beam blockage attenuates the strength of the beam and impacts data beyond the wind farm, causing shadows or spikes in the data through the entire range of the radar (460 km for reflectivity data, and up to 300 km for velocity and spectrum width data).

Radar Base Data: Turbines in RLOS can reflect energy back to the radar and visually contaminate the reflectivity, velocity, and spectrum width data. Forecasters look for certain “signatures” in the data that indicate the severity of the storms. The wind farm clutter can sometimes look just like showers and thunderstorms, or can alter the appearance of a storm (e.g. hook echoes). This visually corrupted data adds uncertainty to the analysis and could cause forecasters to delay/miss a severe weather warning or to warn unnecessarily.

Algorithms and Derived Products: The base reflectivity, velocity, and spectrum-width data are also used by many algorithms in the radar processor to detect certain storm characteristics, such as mesocyclones, relative storm motion, hail, turbulence, etc. Corrupted base data can cause the radar algorithms to generate false alerts or to miss alerts. The radar also generates many additional products using this base data, such as wind profiles and rainfall estimates. Wind turbine clutter can impact the accuracy of these derived products.

The graph below depicts the relative impact of wind turbines (or wind farms) on NEXRAD radars and forecasters as a function of distance (on level terrain) if wind turbines are in the RLOS.

Impacts increase greatly as wind turbines are sited closer to the radar, especially within 18 km (assuming level terrain), as radar operator workarounds become more difficult. Turbines sited at least 18 km from the radar generally only impact the lowest radar scan at 0.5 degrees elevation, and clutter is confined to the wind farm area. Within 18 km wind turbines cause additional impacts including: clutter on multiple elevation scans above 0.5 degrees, multipath clutter down range of the wind turbines, and greater impacts to radar algorithms. Multipath scattering from wind turbines can extend the contaminated data up to 40 km beyond the wind farm. Turbines sited within 4 km of the radar may also cause significant (>10%) attenuation/blockage of the radar beam impacting data throughout the entire range (460 km-reflectivity, 300 km-velocity) of the radar. When turbines are sited within 200 m, construction or maintenance personnel may be exposed to microwave energy exceeding OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) thresholds. The above distances assume a level terrain and a Standard Atmosphere Index of Refraction profile. Therefore, actual impacts may occur closer or further away from the radar than this chart indicates depending on the terrain and current atmospheric refraction. Accurate determination of the RLOS and impact distances requires a detailed site-by-site analysis.

You may wonder why we can’t filter out this clutter since we know where the wind farms are located. The NEXRAD has a sophisticated clutter removal scheme. Since weather is usually in motion, the scheme was designed to filter returns that have essentially no or very low motion. This is effective for removing the returned signals from terrain, buildings, and other non-moving structures. However, the radar sees rotating wind turbine blades as targets having motion, hence processes these returns as weather. At this time there is no filtering scheme available to identify and remove wind turbine clutter while preserving real weather returns.

Wind turbine clutter has not had a major negative impact on forecast or warning operations, yet. However, with more and larger wind turbines coming on line, radars in some parts of the country will have multiple wind farms in their line of sight. Cumulative negative impacts should be anticipated – which, at some point, may become sufficient to compromise the ability of radar data users to perform their missions.

Examples of Wind Turbine Clutter

Zoomed-in Display of WTC-contaminated data from Fort Drum NEXRAD 

The image above is a zoomed 0.5 degree elevation Reflectivity product from the Ft Drum, NY NEXRAD. There is a large wind farm nearby with turbines oriented from due north through southeast of the radar. The turbines are close enough (within 18 km) to cause spurious multipath scattering that extends well beyond the wind farm and contaminates data at multiple scanning elevation angles.

Display of WTC-contaminated data from the Dyess AFB, TX NEXRAD

Sequence (left to right) of 0.5 deg reflectivity images showing thunderstorms developing over a wind farm (purple rectangle) 18–30 km (10-16 nm) west of Dyess AFB, TX WSR-88D. Left: thunderstorms have not yet developed, high reflectivity values due to wind turbines alone. Middle and Right: storm has developed to where in right image a distinct notch structure, indicative of severe weather, formed – note: turbine and weather echoes indistinguishable.
This radar-estimated Storm Total Precipitation accumulation product from the Dodge City, Kansas NEXRAD on April 22, 2010 at 1403 GMT depicts how wind farms can impact radar-derived products. Erroneous 4+ inch radar-estimated Storm Total Precipitation accumulations (indicated by the arrows) in the image on the left are due to wind farms northeast and southwest of the NEXRAD. The anomalous accumulations make estimates of rainfall over an area/river basin more difficult to determine. However, radar operators can apply exclusion zones to mitigate these anomalous accumulations, as seen on the right. (Radar precipitation algorithms do not use the returns from the exclusion zone to accumulate precipitation.)
Dodge City, KS NEXRAD (KDDC) reflectivity (upper right) and mean radial velocity (lower right) imagery for 0150 UTC on 23 Feb 2007 showing two wind farms within the radar’s line of sight. The yellow area in the upper left image depicts areas where the radar line of sight is within 130 m of the ground. The reflectivity and velocity values are anomalous and can confuse users. The lower left panel shows the effects of the wind farm to the southwest whose influence has resulted in a false tornado alert generated by the NEXRAD algorithms. The Weather Forecast Office did not issue a warning because, in this case, other data indicated that there was no severe weather in the wind farm area.

In 2016, the NWS produced a plan to prevent bad siting of future weather radar installtions in proximity with wind farms:

Based on the wind farm proposal the ROC receives, the ROC provides a case-by-case analysis of potential wind farm impacts on WSR-88D data and forecast/warning operations. The ROC uses a geographic information system (GIS) database that utilizes data from the Space Shuttle Radar Topography Mission to create a RLOS map with delineated areas corresponding to a turbine height of 160 m AGL. Multiple radar elevation angles are considered for projects close to the radar.

The ROC then performs a meteorological and engineering analysis using: distance from radar to turbines; maximum height of turbine blade tips; the number of wind turbines; radar azimuths impacted; elevation of the nearby WSR-88D antenna; an average 1.0 degree beam width spread; and terrain (GIS database). From this data the ROC determines if the main radar beam will intersect any tower or turbine blade based on the Standard Atmosphere’s Refractive Index profile.

Finally, the ROC estimates operational impacts based on amount of turbine blade intrusion into RLOS, number of radar elevation tilts impacted by turbines, location and size of the wind farm, number of turbines, orientation of the wind farm with respect to the radar (radial vs azimuthal alignment), severe weather climatology, and operational experience. The ROC also compares the wind farm to other operational wind farms to estimate impacts.

The problem is being addressed through a NWS training course, which is open to the public here:

Here they talk about the problem, when blades are turning, algorithms can’t remove the false signal. But when blades are stationary, they can. The problem is that Doppler radar is designed to detect motion, or more specifically, storm motion.

And their worst nightmare:

And there’s more. In 2007, a presentation was made about the Weatherford wind farm in Oklahoma:

Weatherford Wind Farm Blue Canyon Wind Farm Appearance of OK Wind Farms Varies with Time and Radar Beam Propagation.

Note the two stationary echoes in the left and lower left parts of the animation. These are the Weatherford (along the Interstate) and Blue Canyon wind farms

While it may be news to Watertown, NWS offices around the country have been dealing with this problem for awhile. It should be noted that there’s not one document citing radar interference from coal, nuclear, or hydroelectric power plants.

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April 29, 2018 7:27 am

Thank you for posting this nationally important matter. What should also be understood is that the wind turbine interference explained above, also adversely impacts navigation radars. If that wasn’t bad enough there is evidence that wind turbines cause interference with military operations, including weather (NEXRAD), Primary or Secondary Surveillance, and ROTHR radars.

Ron Long
Reply to  John Droz, jr.
April 29, 2018 10:03 am

John, good comments, but for sure they are not ever going to shut down a wind-farm of turbines for some of our feathered friends. How high are the turbines again? I’ve previously commented about standing underneath these monsters, noting the dead birds littering the ground, and being amazed about the blade tip speed. How big are they? Awesomely gigantic!

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Ron Long
April 29, 2018 11:55 am

People have expressed their disbelief about bird deaths, saying “look at how slow they turn”.
They often don’t understand the math, which shows that the tip speed can reach 180- 200 mph.

Reply to  Ron Long
April 29, 2018 5:09 pm

Ron, Alan,
I’m not sure it’s even the speed of the rotating blades that matters, other than they come out of nowhere as far as the birds are concerned. Just hitting an entirely unexpected static obstruction will hurt ot feathered and leathery friends.
Nor can I quite believe that we hoary old climate sceptics are doing the greens job for them by pointing this out, when imported colonies of newts have been used as objections to housing developments in the UK.
Funny old world really.

Reply to  Ron Long
April 29, 2018 8:32 pm

“saying “look at how slow they turn””
More evidence that “education” (schools) is a massive scam. More massive than pretty much anything else. Billions down the drain. For nothing, except boredom, passivity, and the impression spending times somewhere entitles you to something back.
Overheard after the history exam of French “Brevet des collèges” (after the “classe de 3ème” = normally 15 years old at the end of the year, here the school child was probably 16):
Child A: Hitler, first or second world war?
Child B: Second.
Child A: Sh*t, I’ll have to redo it yet another time!

April 29, 2018 7:30 am

Anthony did a piece on this in 2013z
I can always see the Mars Hill, Maine wind farm inteference on NWS Caribou radar.
Also, lots of articles about using radar to see birds near wind farms (so they can shut them down, lol) to prevent bird impacts. See nothing, say nothing…

Reply to  john
April 29, 2018 8:23 am

One, Cable…need eyeglasses and a pill that’ll make me young again…

Reply to  john
April 29, 2018 8:37 am

Here is the rescue hoist used. Only has 250’ cable…
How high are the turbines again???

April 29, 2018 7:36 am

I was wondering, truly, how long it would be before this was discussed as a very real, very valid problem. It is only one of many problems that wind farms represent.
Thanks for the post. Let’s hope common sense prevails at some point.

Reply to  Sara
April 29, 2018 10:16 am

this was on Kate’s blog….
“Massive Damage”…Large-Scale Engineering Debacle Threatens As North Sea Wind Turbine Breaks Apart!
By P Gosselin on 27. April 2018
The pressure and rush to go green: The technical integrity of Germany’s offshore wind parks gets cast into doubt after a wind turbine comes apart after just 8 years of operation. North Sea wind turbines may prove to be inadequately designed and thus unfit for safe operation.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Latitude
April 29, 2018 11:47 am

There’s only so much that engineering can accomplish. Sounds like someone is trying to make excuses, or place blame.
If they achieved 8 years before failure, that’s worthy of note.

Reply to  Latitude
April 29, 2018 5:21 pm

The engineers certified it as meeting the design criteria, which I assume included not falling apart after only 8 years.
If it’s not possible from an engineering standpoint to build such structures, then the engineers have a legal obligation to inform their supervisors of this fact.
After a structure fails, to declare that “there is only so much engineering can do” is a cop out.

Reply to  Latitude
April 29, 2018 6:27 pm

8 years to failure for a wind turbine? Not unexpected.
They REQUIRE a full shutdown and major overhaul at the seven year point. Need shorter routine shutdowns and repairs at the 2 year and 4 year points. Were the earlier maintenance shutdowns completed properly for all turbines in that windfarm at sea?
This “Routine” windmill maintenance is extremely expensive, and working aloft in the turbine nacelles is one of the most dangerous places of all power production. There are fewer and fewer men willing to climb the 400 feet ladders to work 12 hour days up there, then cliimb down at the end of the shift, bringing their tools, clothes, cleanup rags and chemicals, and – yes – even their “stuff” with them in pails and buckets. (No toilets up high.)
Windmill subsidies ONLY cover the initial buy-in of the manufactoring and (sometimes) construction. Only the operating subsidies are tax-supported, never the maintenance monies. So, their operation is subsidized only when operating, and there’s no subsidy for repairs, and so no budget for repairs, and so all too often, no repairs. Run them until they break. “The original owners got their money from the taxpayers a long while back – The new holding company doesn’t care about long-term upkeep.
And the maintenance situation is even more difficult, more expensive, and takes longer for at-sea turbines being supported from helicopters and tossing small boats a long way from shore. And the at-sea turbines are subject to even harsher climates and salty environments with near-continuous spray and deposits and corrosion.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Latitude
April 29, 2018 7:56 pm

No, it isn’t a copout. It’s a recognition of reality, despite your red herrings. Do you think that all parties involved in the project weren’t fully apprised of all known performance and design issues?
Where did you get your assumptions? Do you have any idea of the mtbf of such structures on land?
Engineers can only operate within the framework of what is possible. It is not possible to divine all of the complexities involved in producing a sophisticated first- run machine, until it is built and operating in place.
Your position is tantamount to claiming that all machine failures are an engineering failure. Think about that.
If such were the case, then someone, somewhere would have built a machine that will never wear out or break down. Where is that machine?
I think they did a great job to get 8 years out of the machine before the hood flew off.

Reply to  Latitude
April 30, 2018 6:43 am

Alan R: You’d be a great boss at a construction company. Where my husband works, maintenance is just when things fall apart. The last new truck had 30 hours on it when it developed a huge oil leak requiring tearing apart part of the haul truck. It’s under warranty, so let’s all cheer. Ignore the cost of lost production, just cheer the truck repair is free. Still no rock being a hauled at the quarry, of course, but no money being spent on maintenance or renting trucks that actually work (this brand of trucks costs less to rent—and breaks down constantly, under warranty, so no problem, right?). Bean counters everywhere rejoice!!!

Reply to  Sara
April 29, 2018 2:15 pm

Environment Canada even admits it on their website:
In Huron County, Ontario’s prime agricultural county , farmers rely on weather forecasts and the forecasts are very often wrong.

Gary Pearse
April 29, 2018 7:52 am

Every technology has impacts of one kind or another might be the argument you’ll hear. But the reply, of course, is that this technology has little upside – unreliable and expensive power with a string of other negatives: use of environmantally damaging raw materials (specifically because of the atrocious lack of concern with the environment at rare earth mines in China), the killing of birds and bats in large numbers, the need for backup power, the large footprint including gathering the power, and proposed storage…
I would add to NWS concerns with large wind farms the creation of an artificial “blocking high” that will create weather – sustaining and regarding exit of low pressure areas down wind.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 29, 2018 7:53 am

retarding not regarding.

Dan Davis
April 29, 2018 7:52 am

Wonder if coating the blades and pylons with anti-radar absorbent would reduce this problem.
They certainly need something to reduce this impact.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Dan Davis
April 29, 2018 7:56 am

Coating might reduce ‘traction’ of the wind on the blades, losing efficiency.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 29, 2018 12:11 pm

Gary: “‘traction’ of the wind on the blades”

You obviously don’t know how the blades work. They “fly” through the air the same way an airplane wing works.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 29, 2018 5:19 pm

“Resistance is futile”.
I’m sure that’s a quote from a WW2 movie.
When the renewables industry is grasping at every dime of opportunity to promote their cause, reducing turbine efficiency by a speed influencing coating, in the face of growing criticism, is just not worth the lives of the birds and bats it might save.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 29, 2018 5:25 pm

Mike, airplane wings work because the air moves faster over the top of the wing than it does over the bottom.
If “traction” causes this air to not move as fast, then the pressure differential will be reduced, reducing the efficiency of the “wing”.
Regardless, such coatings are both expensive and not very durable. Which means they would have to be re-applied on a regular basis. Making a power source that is already ridiculously expensive, even more so.

Reply to  MarkW
April 29, 2018 7:43 pm

MarkW, Gary Pearse, Subtle2, HotScot, wolfdasilva
Well, technically, an airplane wing gains “lift” by forcing the wing forward at high speeds into static air, dividing that static air into two parts: The part that goes under the wing, and the part that goes over the wing. Both eventually end up joining together at the end of the wing at the same speed and same pressure and same temperature (assuming sub-sonic, theoretical flow of an ideal gas.) Because the two airflows join back up eventually, the two have different flow distances across the top (longer, higher speed, lower pressure) and the bottom (shorter distance, lower speed, higher pressure). Therefore, all else being the same, the higher pressure on the bottom of the wing means “lift”.
ANYTHING that slows the air speed difference between top of wing and bottom of the wing reduces lift between top of wing and bottom of wing (reduces wind differential speed which reduces lift). So any increase in “drag” by paint or by a radar-absorbing coating is a “bad” thing. And expensive, as you point out.
Now, a turbine blade creates rotation forces by creating “lift” by “forcing” the FIXED blade to intercept a MOVING air stream, and then splitting that air flow into two components – one above (in front of) and one below (behind) the blade. The difference in wind speed between front and back of the blade creates “lift” which creates torque on the long blade which creates a torque on the shaft which we turn into electrical power. Sometimes. Most of the time it is just wasted money.
Anything which creates “drag” (traction) on the blade surface reduces the wind differential speed between top and bottom of the blade, which then reduces available lift, which reduces available torque on the shaft of the generator. So, heavy, expensive, thick radar absorbing coatings (assuming the blade is designed aerodynamically properly in the first place) are a “bad thing” to be avoided.
But most windmill blades are carbon fibre anyway. Unlike shorter, stiffer propeller blades on older prop-driven airplanes, very, very few modern wind turbine blades are aluminum. The carbon-fiber blades are composite, but are designed for strength and rigidity after being saturated with the resins and plastic glues – not designed for anti-radar reflecting or radar absorption qualities.
It is an open question whether radar reflections are enhanced by the carbon fibre properties, or reduced by the carbon fibre and glue final qualities.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 29, 2018 5:35 pm

MarkW: “If “traction” causes this air to not move as fast, then the pressure differential will be reduced, reducing the efficiency of the “wing”
You also have no clue how a wind turbine works. “Traction” is inapplicable.
Try using the correct aerodynamic term.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 30, 2018 7:33 am

Mike, there’s a reason why I put the word in quotes.
Do you always get this cranky when someone corrects you?

Reply to  Dan Davis
April 29, 2018 7:57 am

Stealth wind turbines… general aviation will not be able to see them either in IFR conditions….

Reply to  john
April 29, 2018 8:12 am

Now to go OTa little. Coast Guard Jayhawks will have ine hell of a time dealing with incidents that may occur at offshore wind facilities too. Not with just radar but unit heights as well. They only have so much canle on their winches to raise the rescue litters or drop swimmers in reasonably close proximity to accident/medical scenes that will inevitably happen.

Komrade Kuma
Reply to  Dan Davis
April 29, 2018 8:13 am

They certainly need something to reduce this impact.
Can I suggest removal of these useless, religious icons that have been shoved in our faces so all the eco warrior Onan Kardashians out there can reassure themselves that they will be going to nirvana.

Reply to  Dan Davis
April 29, 2018 7:42 pm

They might be able to reduce the echo reflection from blades, but I suspect it would still block them from seeing what was on the other side of the windfarm, i.e., there would be a ‘black hole’ in their coverage.

April 29, 2018 8:05 am

The weather radar “clutter” from industrial wind facilities is a particularly troublesome problem for the Watertown NY area because of lake-effect snow. From mid-November to mid-April residents in this area have to deal with these storms. Lake-effect snow bands form in the lower levels of the atmosphere and as locals can tell you the bands can set up and stay stationary for long periods of time. As a result if this area becomes cluttered with industrial wind facilities no one will be able to tell whether the weather radar returns are “clutter” or a persistent snow band in that area. The persistent bands are the biggest concern because snow piles up in those events and locals try to avoid them.

April 29, 2018 8:12 am

Look at the Sacramento Radar, Southwest of Fairfield and along the Altamont Pass. These always show “intense” weather for the Wind farms located along the ridge top and in the Delta.

Reply to  Kit
April 29, 2018 8:13 am

South EAST of Fairfield..

Alan Robertson
April 29, 2018 8:18 am

Wind farms have been built all around my beloved home state of Oklahoma. I do hope that no one is ever injured or worse, due to late or absent warnings of impending tornadoes.
Verifiable windgen- caused deaths of wildlife has been no concern of environmentalists and in light of their constant sermons about the existence of too many people, it is a certainty that human deaths would cause them no outcry, either.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 29, 2018 8:30 am

Deaths of wildlife have been of no concern to environmentalists…
I’ve no idea why it is so difficult to see composition errors when they are correctable, yet they leap off the page when the send button is pressed.
Maybe a personal” timeout before send” habit would help.

Liz (in OK)
Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 29, 2018 1:00 pm

The Oklahoma Energy Resource Board (OERB) has a program to restore abandoned oil well sites. I wonder if the wind industry will be responsible to clean up their sites once the turbines burn up or are destroyed and the companies got bankrupt. The biggest mistake OK did was to give a tax credit to that industry.

Reply to  Liz (in OK)
April 30, 2018 2:27 am

There is no provision in any wind turbine company’s long term budgets to clean up the derelict wind turbine sites when the turbine or turbine farm ceases operations. Usually by the end of a turbine’s life, the original promoters of the turbine farm have collected the grossest of subsidy profits from the building of the turbines and have onsold the whole corrupt shebang onto some investment fund suckers a lot further down the line
In germany the removal of the concrete platforms that the turbines are based on is only being done down to a metre or so to give the impression thart the site has been rehabilitated and the other 8 or more metres deep concrete bases are left in place.
Read the relevant articles on Pierre Gosselin’s excellent German to English translated science and climate. “NoTricksZone” blog.
For that is the future that the utterly corrupt wind indusry [ and solar farm industry ] will leave and is leaving the tax payers of America’, Europe and Australia’s unholy stinking incredibly expensive mess of the most corrupt and exploitive of the tax paying public, industries of today, the wind turbine and solar industries.
Germany’s Wind Energy Mess: As Subsidies Expire, Thousands Of Turbines To Shut Down…Environmental Nightmare!

Reply to  Liz (in OK)
April 30, 2018 6:56 am

Those same decommissioning funds are in place for fossil and nuclear power plants. The coal plants put out of service by the former US administration will be utilizing these decommissioning funds.
Someone please correct or verify, but I believe these funds are built through a mechanism built into the rate base paid by the public served. Like the fuel surcharge, it is a direct pass through.

April 29, 2018 8:29 am

Distorting weather radar readings is a minor inconvenience compared to the real threat presented by windmills.
The problem is the inordinate drag wind turbines present to the moving air mass. Theoretically, this could slow the Earth’s rotation, thereby inducing earthquakes. More widespread than those supposedly “caused” by fracking, which of course, if such cause and effect prevails, would be localized.
No, the threat would be worldwide. And given the inconstancy of the airflow, the earthquake swarms would vary accordingly.
The threat of Catastrophic Wind Induced Earthquakes (CWIE) is real and ambitious journalists should get on with it. The first step would be to stop building windmills. The next would be to start tearing them down.
As soon as possible.
The urgency is that the “full catastrophe” would occur when an extraordinary CME hits at the same time as a CWIE. Clearly the end of the world at its most extreme. Less sanguine researchers in this new field would conclude that at the very worst, just all of the refrigerator-door magnets would fall off.
Bob Hoye

Leo Smith
Reply to  subtle2
April 29, 2018 8:42 am

utter piffle

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 29, 2018 8:59 am

I thought it to be intentional nonsense.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  subtle2
April 29, 2018 8:49 am

Oh, that’s just great. CWIE?
More earthquakes and delayed warnings for tornadoes?
What’s next, volcanoes?

Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 29, 2018 5:31 pm

Are there any wind turbines near Yellowstone? If there are, be afraid, very afraid. /sarc

Roy Spencer
Reply to  subtle2
April 29, 2018 9:19 am

All wind energy is dissipated at the surface by friction anyway.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Roy Spencer
April 29, 2018 11:43 am

Oh, but those big ol’ tall levers.
(ok, i’ll stop)

Reply to  subtle2
April 29, 2018 12:04 pm

To many turbines will cause the earth to spin the other way. Then we’ll face the serious problem of reverse faults.

Ian H
Reply to  subtle2
April 29, 2018 1:44 pm

A bit too subtle. Lewandowsky bait?

Reply to  subtle2
April 29, 2018 5:30 pm

Point 1: compare the weight of the atmosphere to the weight of the planet. It comes out to many orders of magnitude less than the rounding error in our estimation of the earth’s weight.
Point 2: All wind comes to a stop eventually. If this were not true wind speeds would have started picking up the minute the earth had an atmosphere until the winds were blowing fast enough to reach escape velocity. Windmills can change wind patterns, by forcing some of the wind to go around them. That’s about it.

Reply to  MarkW
April 29, 2018 5:41 pm

MarkW: ” Windmills can change wind patterns, by forcing some of the wind to go around them.”

Nope, you don’t have a clue.
The only thing a wind turbine can do is reduce the kinetic energy in the wind. They don’t make the wind “go around them” because the wind goes THROUGH them.

Reply to  Mike Borgelt
April 29, 2018 7:14 pm

Mike Borgelt
No, not exactly true. The wind “speeds up” (increases its static pressure) directly in front (upwind) of the turbine blade diameter, then the pressure decreases immediately behind the turbine disk. The flow lines then spread out as they pass through the blade diameter, then go enter a 10-15x diameter “cone” behind the wind turbine.
The wind disturbance extends many rotor diameters ABOVE the first rotor as well: Don’t just make the assumption that the “tower height” is the limit of the windmill radar interferences.
Now, the reason we know that wind turbine critics who claim the wind turbines will stop the rotation of the earth and make it go backwards are wrong is because the number of angels dancing behind the cosmic aether disturbed by the turbine blades has not yet been determined stochemetrically. (And, in any case, all them reverse-blowing wind turbines in the southern hemisphere merely makes the earth twist about its equatorial center of inertia. Witch is quiet large.)

Reply to  MarkW
April 30, 2018 7:37 am

Mike, if you would stop for a minute you would realize just how stupid you sound.
What happens when you take kinetic energy out of something. You slow it down.
What happens when something causes the wind to slow down. There’s a pile up resulting in some of the wind going around.
Let’s just face it, you aren’t as smart as your mother told you.

April 29, 2018 8:32 am

I have been talking about these problems for about ten years, Do we need a tragedy to drive home the problem? Back in 2007 Colonel Steven Arquiette, commander of the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis, warned that “ …we have evidence indicating the wind turbines will create significant interference with the base’s radar and could lead to potentially serious flight safety hazards in terms of planes dropping off radar, flight tracks on radar different from actual tracks and ‘false targets’ – planes the radar sees but aren’t actually there.” The AFB had to spend millions to upgrade the radar just to mitigate the problem to a point of acceptable but not ideal corrective action. Then the Obama administration forced the military to obtain 20% of their power from “renewable energy.” Thus the military was spending money to build new Renewable energy sources and that much again to up grade the radar on the air bases. And all of this during the reduced spending requirements of sequester. Basically, a road map for disaster or disestablishment of the military, take your pick.

April 29, 2018 8:35 am

The wind energy industry should bear the costs of any radar relocation required by wind farm installation. There is no reason the taxpayer should *further* subsidize the costs this industry imposes on the nation.

Reply to  Mark
April 29, 2018 8:41 am

Calling wind energy an “industry” is like calling gambling an “industry”. Neither are particularly resourceful.

Reply to  RockyRoad
April 29, 2018 9:47 am

This is a typical attack but they are not the only creative and industrious entrepreneurs smeared by critics. Don’t you know how much hard work and hard money goes into building support for these ventures among local politicians? Whole industries are built just for that.

Reply to  RockyRoad
April 29, 2018 12:50 pm

“Calling wind energy an “industry” is like calling gambling an “industry”. Neither are particularly resourceful.”
Actually, the gambling “industry” is quite resourceful at separating people from their money. Come to think of it, the wind energy “industry” has been quite resourceful at doing that also.

Reply to  RockyRoad
April 29, 2018 5:33 pm

Gambling produces entertainment. I know that there are a lot of people who don’t feel that this is a legitimate industry, but this view is not universal.

Reply to  RockyRoad
April 30, 2018 1:58 am

The Renewable energy industry is the fastest and most efficient way yet known of extracting large amounts of wealth from the poorest in the land and transferring that wealth to the richest.

April 29, 2018 8:45 am

OK, I know this is nitpicking but the wind turbines do not create false storm impressions. A person reading the radar may create in his mind a false impression but the windmills themselves are innocent. They are just helpless renewable energy tools. They also can not help that birds that fly blindly into their blades. Birds must evolve (like bats) and a few deaths may forward this process. Heartless, I know but you have to break bird eggs to make an omelet.
[Technically speaking, the wind turbine blades are not breaking bird eggs. The actual bird eggs are safe back in the nests, unbroken but abandoned by the birds broken by the wind turbine blades, which are actual breaking pre-bird-eggs. .mod]

Alan Robertson
Reply to  wolfdasilva
April 29, 2018 8:57 am

So far, you win the thread’s prize for egregious rationalization.

Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 29, 2018 9:20 am

Thanks, I did not know that was an award, but my flock of genetically modified sonar equipped snow geese will like it.

Reply to  wolfdasilva
April 29, 2018 9:06 am

Wind-Turbines kill birds and bats, reduce endangered species numbers, drive neighbours to insanity and now we see that they interfere with radar systems, and yet the Greenies still love them as they are a futile offshoot of their discredited theory of CAGW. It is as effective at taking a shotgun and blazing away to reduce malaria mosquitos.

Reply to  ntesdorf
April 29, 2018 11:26 am

Bats too? Oh crap.

Reply to  wolfdasilva
April 29, 2018 11:27 am

I sit corrected.

Reply to  wolfdasilva
April 29, 2018 12:04 pm

Mr. Watts (or whoever you are that) So what you are saying is the windmills are killing post-bird-eggs and leaving pre-bird-eggs to die. Okay, I see the problem we may have to ban windmills after all. I just found out windmills are killing bats (which have no eggs, not in nests anyway) too, this has to stop.

Reply to  wolfdasilva
April 29, 2018 5:39 pm

I’m not sure if you’re trying to be funny, or if you are just funny.
1. Your grammar is even worse than mine (and mine is really bad).
2. Mr. Watt’s may operate this blog, it doesn’t mean he exclusively moderates it, there are many volunteers.
3. You are not as funny as you think, not even close.

Reply to  wolfdasilva
April 29, 2018 9:00 pm

Well now we know we both have bad grammar and no sense of humor, Want to go on a date?
[The mods refuse all accountability and responsibility for any gramma’s and grandpa’s resulting as an outcome of any dating occurring before, during, or after; on or about or around any such date. .mod]

Reply to  wolfdasilva
April 29, 2018 9:58 pm

mods, I am willing to sign a waiver. It just that finding someone who is compatible is so hard.

Reply to  wolfdasilva
April 30, 2018 7:39 am

HotScot, if we chased of everyone who had a joke fall flat, there would be nobody left.

Reply to  wolfdasilva
April 30, 2018 10:43 am

They kill bats by the means of lung explosion. The bats don’t get killed by actually hitting any blade, their lungs explode due to the pressure of the turbines when they fly around them.

Ian W
April 29, 2018 8:57 am

This has been a recognized problem in the UK for some time. To the extent that the Ministry of Defence has intervened to prevent windfarms being built.

April 29, 2018 9:04 am

All the more reason to wrap det cord around the bases of the turbines and rid the landscape of their visual blight. /sarc

Reply to  greymouser70
April 29, 2018 10:26 am

It was an accident – but a cell tower at Camp Pendleton was apparently taken out by a not quite fully trained mortar team. One shell, one turbine, most likely…

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Writing Observer
April 29, 2018 12:00 pm

An accident. Sure.
Ornery dadburn threaded-headed wild wahoos, anyhow.

Reply to  Writing Observer
April 29, 2018 5:41 pm

Writing Observer
Just one mortar per turbine?
Sounds like good value for money to me.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  greymouser70
April 30, 2018 11:04 am

No, no! JetCord! You use JetCord!!

April 29, 2018 9:25 am

Still have not found much else on this related wind farm topic.

April 29, 2018 9:38 am

Great post, a local TV meteorologist has long pointed this out, often apparent on Corpus Christi, Texas radar. Great controversy about potential problems at Kingsville Naval Air Station which has alternate fields.

Peta of Newark
April 29, 2018 10:57 am

When humankind finally gets round to arranging one rock atop another *and* they stay there for any length of time – *then* you can wake me up.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 29, 2018 11:39 am

Pyramids in Egypt? That’s pretty good rock stacking!

Alan Robertson
Reply to  jclarke341
April 29, 2018 12:06 pm

Like Peta said, when we figure out how to stack rocks like that…

April 29, 2018 11:15 am

Unintended is not necessarily unforeseen.

Steve Richards
April 29, 2018 11:18 am

Just had a look at the space used by wind versus nuclear.
I used:
Buffalo Gap Wind Farm, US at 32°18′38″N 100°8′57″W and
Vandellòs, Spain at 0°57′05″N 00°52′00″E
Buffalo has a name plate capacity of 524MW from 296 turbines.
Vandellòs has a name plate capacity of 1045MW from one reactor.
We need two buffalos to make one Vandellòs – assuming the wind was ‘good’ all the time.
But, the amount of land used by these two systems differs greatly.
Buffalo is (roughly from Google maps) 36 miles east-west, and 21 miles north-south.
Vandellòs is approximately 1/2 mile square.
And we need *TWO* buffalos to match the output of Vandellòs.
What a waste, one reactor versus (296 x 2) = 592 turbines.
One works nearly all the time on request, the other works only when the wind blows just right.

Reply to  Steve Richards
April 29, 2018 1:25 pm

Vandellòs, Spain is ~ 41°N. You have it virtually on the equator.

April 29, 2018 11:49 am

Doppler radar had roots in WWII, and understanding that history and the scientific basics of Doppler Radar helps explain why wind turbines present a very real and difficult problem.
The Germans had a 50 cm aircraft tracking and FLAK directing radar called Wuerzburg. It was so accurate and effective that it was making the night Allied bomber offensive untenable. In order to accomplish the fire/carpet bombing raid on Hamburg in 1943 without catastrophic losses to the bombers, the RAF first used what they code named Window. Window was millions of strips of aluminum foil cut to 1/2 the wave length of the radar and dropped in the pathway of of the bomber stream. The resulting returns flooded the Wuerzburg indicators rendering the radar useless.
It took the Germans all of two weeks to develop a solution. They invented Doppler Radar. What they did was to take advantage of the Doppler Shift effect caused by the motion of the targets. They filtered out via Doppler for the speeds of the falling aluminum strips and pass filtered for the typical speeds of legitimate targets. This paved the way to eventually filtering out ground clutter and sea clutter and also to weather radar as it is known today.
Spinning turbine blades present a vexing problem because it is their motion that creates the Doppler shift contamination. One can not simply filter out for the speeds of the blades rotation without also creating holes in the information spectrum of legitimate returns. The blades give a continuous spectrum of speeds from slow to high along the length of the blades from the hub to the tip. And the RPM is irregular. Moreover, they present at all times both horizontal and vertical polarities and all polarities in between.

Reply to  KT66
April 29, 2018 5:37 pm

The Germans had 50cm aircraft? How large were the rounds they fired?

Reply to  MarkW
April 29, 2018 5:45 pm

Now that’s not fair. Funny as hell, but still not fair.

Reply to  MarkW
April 29, 2018 5:50 pm

HotScot, MarkW can’t read. He doesn’t understand the difference between the radar wavelength and the size of an aircraft.

Reply to  Mike Borgelt
April 29, 2018 6:57 pm

Mike Borgelt. You really don’t have any sense of humor, of sarcasm, nor of irony do you?

Reply to  MarkW
April 30, 2018 5:51 am

I guess I set myself up for that one.

April 29, 2018 11:55 am

Just north of there in Ontario they have other problems, and the government is hiding it:
Over the last few months, STT has reported several times on how the wind industry has relentlessly destroyed underground water supplies in Chatham-Kent, lying about the cause all the way along. Adding insult to injury, the public health authorities have sided with the wind industry; treating its victims with equal, if not greater, cynicism and contempt.
Follow the links for a short video and more….
For readers not familiar with Ontario, Queen’s Park is where the government is located and Kathleen Wynne is the premier.
Black Plague: Wind Turbine Construction Turning Ontario’s Water Supply to Toxic Sludge

April 29, 2018 1:50 pm

‘Among the possible concerns listed in the document for the Binghamton station is that beam blockage from wind turbines could hamper tracking of thunderstorms in Oneida and Madison counties, delaying tornado warnings. It could also make it difficult to track lake effect snow and rainfall, which in turn could delay travel advice and flash flood warnings.’
I think NWS exaggerates the problem.
Plus, they have no right to an unblocked signal.
So they should work out a technical solution, or just get over it.

Reply to  Gamecock
April 29, 2018 2:27 pm

First responders will now have to take this information into consideration?
And how many tornadoes have you been through?

Reply to  Barbara
April 29, 2018 4:39 pm

“First responders will now have to take this information into consideration?”
You have no information whatsoever that any have ever been affected by this. You are as full of it as NWS.
“And how many tornadoes have you been through?”
Non sequitur.

Reply to  Barbara
April 29, 2018 7:44 pm

Have been through several tornadoes and there isn’t much time to seek shelter.
So any information provided by weather radar is appreciated.
Now this interference is public information. Will heed the warning next time a storm approaches.

Reply to  Gamecock
April 29, 2018 3:30 pm

Or maybe we should get rid of these eyesores that can’t pay their own way, cause more harm than good to environment, do nothing to “save the planet”, kill wild life, push people to insanity, cause health problems……

Reply to  Gamecock
April 29, 2018 5:46 pm

You are correct that they do not have a right to an unblocked signal. Just as none of us have a right to accurate weather forecasts and real time tracking of dangerous weather.
Who cares if a couple of people get killed, that’s just the price of progress.

Reply to  Gamecock
April 29, 2018 10:21 pm

I don’t think the NWS is exaggerating it at all. It’s been my experience that they were all on board with the climate change/green energy agenda. If anything, they’ve been underrating the problem.

April 29, 2018 2:19 pm

Maybe people will have to go back to looking out for themselves like they did prior to weather radar?

April 29, 2018 5:16 pm

Yet another reason to hate the bird choppers.

Stephen Singer
April 29, 2018 5:58 pm

This is LIFE threatening to all who live in the tornado zone from Colorado to the Eastern US and from Canadian border to Gulf Coast. They turbines should be forced off line from April to about October. Otherwise some are going to lose their lives during tornado season.

April 29, 2018 8:05 pm

The turbine interference shows up on our local radar in Macon Illinois.

April 29, 2018 8:05 pm

The turbine interference shows up on our local radar in Macon Illinois.
[delete dupes? .mod]

April 29, 2018 8:05 pm

The turbine interference shows up on our local radar in Macon Illinois.

April 29, 2018 10:03 pm

They have known this for years. They were reporting this 11-12 years ago when I still had cable and the meteorologist of the station I watched reported on it. It’s just too bad the MSM wasn’t on the ball with it.

Reply to  4TimesAYear
April 30, 2018 9:24 am

As I recall, in the U.S. Submission to the UNFCCC, c.2014 which is available online, the U.S. “promised” to double the number of wind turbines in the U.S.
This UNFCCC Submission is from the U.S. State Department.

Reply to  Barbara
April 30, 2018 10:17 am

GlobalChange. Gov
‘2014 CAR United States Climate Action Report 2014’, About 300 pages.
U.S. Department of State
Click on the Report.

Reply to  Barbara
April 30, 2018 12:07 pm

‘2014 CAR United States Climate Action Report 2014’
U.S. Biennial Report
2. A Commitment To Act
Reduce U.S. GHG Emissions
“setting a new goal to double electricity generation from wind and solar power”
Use above link for the 2014 Report.

Reply to  Barbara
April 30, 2018 2:10 pm

The White House, March 31, 2015
‘FACT SHEET: U.S. Reports its 2025 Emissions Target to the UNFCCC’
Scroll down to: Building on Progress
Includes: “,doubling solar and wind electricity,”

April 30, 2018 8:20 am

Wind energy output for Australia for April-
…and the doomsdayers cheer as they blow up bankrupted coal fired power stations paying for that. These people are evil, insane or morons or some combination of all three.

April 30, 2018 8:28 am

MarkW (April 29, 2018 at 5:25 pm)
Mike, airplane wings work because the air moves faster over the top of the wing than it does over the bottom.”
A popular myth, but it isn’t true.
Airplane wings propel a mass of air particles in a downward direction creating an equal and opposite force to the underside of the wings, producing what we call “lift.”
In the same way, a rocket provides lift by propelling a mass of particles downwards.
This is why a stunt plane can fly .. upside down,
without being sucked to the ground by the over-hyped Bernoulli effect:

Reply to  Khwarizmi
April 30, 2018 9:50 am

Stunt planes have symmetric wings.

April 30, 2018 7:28 pm

Therefore, we must cut down all the windmills. If it could save only one child…

Sandy In Limousin
May 1, 2018 12:49 am

This story from 2014 is interesting. I attended the planning meeting in 2911/12 and spoke against the development. Also against was the management of East Midlands Airport, because the turning blades would interfere with radar. Despite that the construction went ahead.

£7m wind turbines at standstill over radar fears
Two wind turbines installed six months ago at a cost of £7 million have still not been switched on because they would compromise safety at a nearby airport
At the end of this last year they finally started producing electricity in, what for windturbines in Central England is normal quantities. How much the solution cost is not available.
Unfortunately wind turbine madness is alive and well in rural France.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in London
May 1, 2018 2:44 am

Why not paint the blades with a radar absorbing material like stealth fighters? The radar is unsophisticated and not designed to spot stealth technology.
The radar pings would disappear and the weather would shine through, so to speak.

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