John Miner, London Free Press
Southwestern Ontario’s eye on the sky for life-threatening weather could be obscured by giant wind turbines converging on its field of vision. Recognizing and alerting people to severe conditions is a job where every minute counts.
That’s especially true in Southwestern Ontario, one of Canada’s thunderstorm capitals and part of Ontario’s tornado belt. Hundreds of thousands of people in the region rely on Environment Canada to make the right call. But that task is about to get tougher. The agency’s severe weather forecasters rely heavily on data from their Exeter Radar Station, about 50 km north of London, which detects storms and their velocity within a 250-km ring around the station.
The difficulty on the horizon are the scores of giant wind turbines being built or starting up within 50 km of the Exeter station. Some are planned as close as 16 km away. The problem, documented by the U.S. National Weather Service and in Europe, is that when a weather radar signal is reflected back by spinning turbine blades, it can appear to be a rotating cloud or tornado. Known as ‘wind turbine clutter,’ that can also disrupt precipitation estimates. Read article