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  1. 26 Feb '14 14:00 / 4 edits
    I had actually independently thought of this exact same idea but now it seems I wasn't the first one to think of this!

    http://phys.org/news/2014-02-offshore-farms-hurricanes.html

    It is clear from this link that this will definitely greatly reduce hurricane damage!
    And, just think, it would also create significant amounts of renewable energy in the process thus killing two birds with one stone!
    I think this is just great!
    This definitely looks like a good idea worth seriously exploring!
  2. Standard member forkedknight
    Defend the Universe
    26 Feb '14 14:23 / 1 edit
    I have to admit, I'm a bit skeptical that there would be no ill-effects to the environment from a) installing 10's of thousands of wind turbines in a relatively small area of the ocean, and b) dissipating much of the energy out of all hurricanes in the area.

    What happens to rainfall and other environmental factors when you start breaking up all the category 1 tropical storms and hurricanes?
  3. 26 Feb '14 14:32
    I am also a bit sceptic. If it takes tens of thousands of turbines, then they must be quite small to make it economic. And with the first category 1 hurricane, then they will all be wiped out.

    Was it really Katrine herself who make the mess in New Orleans? Wasn't it poor ingeneering, and bad maintenance of the shields (sorry, I don't find the proper name for it). Katrine wasn't particularly strong, any other city would have taken it without problem. But New Orleans that already lay there under the sea level. Any weakness in the shield would flood the city.
  4. 26 Feb '14 15:59
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    I am also a bit sceptic. If it takes tens of thousands of turbines, then they must be quite small to make it economic. And with the first category 1 hurricane, then they will all be wiped out.

    Was it really Katrine herself who make the mess in New Orleans? Wasn't it poor ingeneering, and bad maintenance of the shields (sorry, I don't find the proper na ...[text shortened]... ans that already lay there under the sea level. Any weakness in the shield would flood the city.
    And with the first category 1 hurricane, then they will all be wiped out.

    I have been thinking about that. I guess the answer is to make the first ones extra strong to withstand the full force of a hurricane.
  5. 26 Feb '14 16:05
    Originally posted by forkedknight
    I have to admit, I'm a bit skeptical that there would be no ill-effects to the environment from a) installing 10's of thousands of wind turbines in a relatively small area of the ocean, and b) dissipating much of the energy out of all hurricanes in the area.

    What happens to rainfall and other environmental factors when you start breaking up all the category 1 tropical storms and hurricanes?
    What happens to rainfall and other environmental factors when you start breaking up all the category 1 tropical storms and hurricanes?

    From my knowledge of storm vortices, it would be likely to reduce rainfall on land during big storms thus reduce the risk of flooding. This has got to be a good thing.

    The only potential real problematic issue I see here is the initial setup cost which I would imagine would be rather large. If they find a way of keeping those cost not too high, I believe this would work just fine.
  6. Standard member forkedknight
    Defend the Universe
    26 Feb '14 17:02
    Originally posted by humy
    From my knowledge of storm vortices, it would be likely to reduce rainfall on land during big storms thus reduce the risk of flooding. This has got to be a good thing.
    [/b]
    My point is regarding smaller, non-catastrophic storm, and the effect this would have on the total average rainfall in areas "protected" by these turbine farms. Why has decreased rainfall "got to be a good thing"?

    This reminds be somewhat of human attempts to suppress wildfires which has, in some cases, major (adverse?) effects on the environment in those places.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_ecology#Fire_suppression
  7. 26 Feb '14 20:23 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by forkedknight
    My point is regarding smaller, non-catastrophic storm, and the effect this would have on the total average rainfall in areas "protected" by these turbine farms. Why has decreased rainfall "got to be a good thing"?

    This reminds be somewhat of human attempts to suppress wildfires which has, in some cases, major (adverse?) effects on the environment in those places.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_ecology#Fire_suppression
    Why has decreased rainfall "got to be a good thing"?

    Because if it does so by reducing rainfall during big storms, it reduces flooding from big storms. I also see no reason why it should reduce average rainfall much in particular because, when there is no big storm from the sea heading towards land, it shouldn't stop rain clouds forming and originating over the land rather than over the sea.

    Even if the computer simulations shows that it does increase the incidence of drought, it may be worth it if it decreases the incidence of flooding by a greater amount and providing it doesn't reduce average rainfall by too much.

    My only concern here is, is it really cost effective? -I haven't seen the figures on that so not absolutely sure. But providing it is cost effective, and you must take into account not only the economic value of the energy they generate but the savings in costs from avoiding storm damage, then I bet this would probably be just great.
  8. 27 Feb '14 08:17
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    Was it really Katrine herself who make the mess in New Orleans? Wasn't it poor ingeneering, and bad maintenance of the shields (sorry, I don't find the proper name for it). Katrine wasn't particularly strong, any other city would have taken it without problem. But New Orleans that already lay there under the sea level. Any weakness in the shield would flood the city.
    The mess in New Orleans was lack of investment in preventive measures. It wasn't poor engineering as the engineers knew perfectly well that it would not withstand such a storm.
    But storm damage is a lot more extensive than flooding in cities below sea level. There is coastal damage due to large waves, wind damage, flooding due to high rainfall etc and every city in the path of a storm takes some damage. Of course, as with every large event in nature those cities that experience such storms regularly find ways to reduce the damage, and the biggest disasters occur where events are rare, or where people are simply too poor to take preventive measures.

    However, reducing the power of storms might even be cost effective in terms of reducing the need for preventive measures ie although we could do other things to withstand the storms, simply stopping the storms might work out cheaper - especially if the measure is also paying for itself in power output.
  9. 27 Feb '14 08:20
    I must also note that a lot of the large flood disasters in the recent past are due to poor land management, and better land management is the best solution as it enables the retaining of ground water - and this applies to normal rainfall as well as large storms.
  10. 27 Feb '14 08:38 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    The mess in New Orleans was lack of investment in preventive measures. It wasn't poor engineering as the engineers knew perfectly well that it would not withstand such a storm.
    But storm damage is a lot more extensive than flooding in cities below sea level. There is coastal damage due to large waves, wind damage, flooding due to high rainfall etc and [b ...[text shortened]... ms might work out cheaper - especially if the measure is also paying for itself in power output.
    Thank you, twhitehead, for explaining and correcting.

    My point is that invested in preventive measures on a running basis, then there wouldn't be any catastrophe of the magnitude that happened in New Orleans. I don't say that it was a modest storm, it was in fact a hurricane. But the city could have be saved if the measures had been taken in advance. They who didn't take or finance the preventive measures were to blame, not Katrine herself.

    And this will not be the last catastrophe if you ask my opinion. Any million of dollars spent can transform to avoid a billion dollar of expense after a catastrophe. Anoyone responsible saying "We couldn't imagine" are in fact incompetent.

    The global heating is progressing. The hurricanes will raise in numbers. New Orelans will not be the last one to suffer a catastrophe.

    ...if you ask me.
  11. 27 Feb '14 09:46
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    They who didn't take or finance the preventive measures were to blame, not Katrine herself.
    I fully agree. However offshore wind farms might be one of the better preventive measures available. It is remarkably difficult to storm proof whole countries, with one of the biggest problems being that political systems (and humans in general) do not handle long term risk very well. Even rich countries like Japan fail to take adequate measures against natural disasters.
  12. 28 Feb '14 00:02
    Establishing wind farms results in birds being killed when they collide with the
    rapidly spinning blades (which they apparently don't sense is dangerous).
    My point is that wind farms do come with some ecological costs.
  13. 28 Feb '14 05:37
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Establishing wind farms results in birds being killed when they collide with the
    rapidly spinning blades (which they apparently don't sense is dangerous).
    My point is that wind farms do come with some ecological costs.
    As long as they are calming hurricanes, the ecological benefits would probably outweigh that cost. Hurricanes kill a lot of wildlife including birds.
    Also, if they are replacing fossil fuels for power generation, there is another massive ecological benefit.
  14. 28 Feb '14 09:20 / 4 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    As long as they are calming hurricanes, the ecological benefits would probably outweigh that cost. Hurricanes kill a lot of wildlife including birds.
    Also, if they are replacing fossil fuels for power generation, there is another massive ecological benefit.
    Hurricanes kill a lot of wildlife including birds.

    Yes, and here is proof by an example of that from my other thread:

    http://phys.org/news/2014-02-storms-slaughter-birds-french-coast.html

    We in England have recently experienced a series of fierce storms with flooding and hurricane-force winds that have blown down many trees (although not in my area ) and this must surely be one of the worst winters we had on record.
    I haven't seen any statistics or info about what damage it has done to the birds and other wildlife but it is obvious that the damage surely must be just massive. I have noticed that, since the storms, I have not seen a single one of the many squirrels I normally see on the trees next to my garden. Baring in mind they do not hibernate, I guess the storms killed the whole lot of them!