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Chasing smoke with lasers

A research team at Johns Hopkins is trying to find out about wind turbines. Not how they work, but what do they do while they're working.

A research team at Johns Hopkins is trying to find out about wind turbines. Not how they work, but what do they do while they're working. How do they affect wind currents and possibly even local weather?

They're using smoke, a wind tunnel lasers and airplane propellers to track what happens to the air after it's affected by the turbines. This is useful information as more and more wind turbines may be used for electricity generation. What effects do wind farms have on the atmosphere? Denmark already gets 1/5 of its electricity from wind generation. That's enough to power one Hollywood multiplex for fifteen minutes (I'm kidding).

If you want to see a video of some of the air flow testing, click here. The federal government has funded this research through the National Science Foundation.