The development of wind energy is expanding worldwide in an effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions and slow climate change. However, locations ideal for harvesting wind energy often overlap with wildlife concentrations, potentially leading to collisions and habitat loss. Researchers have found that data collected by weather radar networks could be used to reduce collisions and minimize habitat-related impacts of wind turbines on nocturnally migrating birds.
“As the development of wind energy expands worldwide, information to minimize impacts of this development on biodiversity is urgently needed,” said lead author Emily Cohen, assistant professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. “Networked radar data are available across the United States and other countries, and broad application could provide information critical to the bird-friendly expansion of this globally important energy source.”
Billions of birds migrate seasonally through North America, with most flying at night and stopping during the day to rest and refuel —frequently in places with high potential for wind energy. Migrating birds are particularly at risk as they move through lower altitudes swept by wind turbine blades, known as the rotor-swept zone, when they are descending to and ascending from stopover habitat. Read more at: University of Maryland.
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