Can large wind farms affect local meteorology?

S. Baidya Roy, Stephen Wilson Pacala, R. L. Walko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


The RAMS model was used to explore the possible impacts of a large wind farm in the Great Plains region on the local meteorology over synoptic timescales under typical summertime conditions. A wind turbine was approximated as a sink of energy and source of turbulence. The wind farm was created by assuming an array of such turbines. Results show that the wind farm significantly slows down the wind at the turbine hub-height level. Additionally, turbulence generated by rotors create eddies that can enhance vertical mixing of momentum, heat, and scalars, usually leading to a warming and drying of the surface air and reduced surface sensible heat flux. This effect is most intense in the early morning hours when the boundary layer is stably stratified and the hub-height level wind speed is the strongest due to the nocturnal low-level jet. The impact on evapotranspiration is small.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)D19101 1-6
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research D: Atmospheres
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 16 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


  • Climate
  • Environmental impact
  • Renewable energy
  • Weather
  • Wind farm
  • Wind power


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