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.
- 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: