July 14, 2008

Satellite shows where the wind blows

Now that engineers are developing floating wind farms to generate electricity on the open oceans, it's important to know where over the vasty deep the strongest, most consistent winds blow. NASA scientists have answered the question with a global wind power map compiled from eight years of satellite data.

The map shows that certain types of land masses channel wind, and the strongest channelers are capes protruding into the ocean. Three places with abundant, consistent wind power are the oceans near Cape Mendocino, Tasmania and Tierra del Fuego.

Research paper:
Wind Power Distribution over the Ocean
Geophysical Research Letters, July 8, 2008

Researchers' homepages:
W. Timothy Liu
Wenqing Tang
Xiaosu Xie

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