science tech engineering wind_turbines air_flow snow alternative_energy renewable_energy

Snow Lets Scientists Study Real-World Turbulence From Wind Turbines

Engineers in the Midwest have been using the region’s bone-chilling winters to their advantage. Unhappy with the computer modelling and small wind tunnels normally used to study how spinning wind turbines interact with the air around them, they turned to the weatherman.

The team from the University of Minnesota and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign set up a powerful light behind a full-sized 2.5 megawatt, 260-foot-tall wind turbine and waited for snow. When a heavy storm eventually started blanketing the area, they recorded how the turbine’s spinning blades left turbulent airflow and swirling vortices behind it.

The snowflakes acted as flow tracers in the turbulent wind and provided the researchers with a new method to understand what happens when the machines operate. The results could be used to fine-tune machine-level and wind farm construction to make both more efficient at harvesting energy from the air.

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weather blizzard nor_easter wunderground infographic snow ice storm

While much of the country is hanging heavily in the blue and purple parts of the current temperature map, Wunderground posted this interesting infographic on winter storms. Illustrator and artist Jerimiah Brown created the graphic. Click here to see it big at Visual.ly.[[MORE]]

While much of the country is hanging heavily in the blue and purple parts of the current temperature map, Wunderground posted this interesting infographic on winter storms. Illustrator and artist Jerimiah Brown created the graphic. Click here to see it big at Visual.ly.

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tech snow west winter snotel weather

SNOTEL Watching Winter
Though many places have already seen snow this year, Saturday is the official first day of winter. That means months ahead of cold weather conditions for much of the U.S.
In the Western states, snowfall amounts are critical data for everything from water-use planning to winter tourism. The Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service runs a network of remote stations called SNOTEL around the West to collect critical data on snow conditions. Click here to see the full-sized infographic.[[MORE]]

SNOTEL Watching Winter

Though many places have already seen snow this year, Saturday is the official first day of winter. That means months ahead of cold weather conditions for much of the U.S.

In the Western states, snowfall amounts are critical data for everything from water-use planning to winter tourism. The Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service runs a network of remote stations called SNOTEL around the West to collect critical data on snow conditions. Click here to see the full-sized infographic.

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tech vintage film ge weather hurricane snow ice clouds science video gif

Vapor Manipulations

by Michael Keller

In the 1940s, GE and government researchers were trying to figure out how to weaken the destructive power of hurricanes. Part of that work involved building an understanding of how ice crystals form in clouds. These animations come from a 1947 film showing scientists making snow in a lab freezer.

GE scientists including Nobel Prize winner Irving Langmuir, Vincent Schaefer and Bernard Vonnegut studied the science of snow. Their experiments with weather control provided Bernard’s brother, Kurt, the inspiration to write Cat’s Cradle.

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