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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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ScienceShot: Thar She Blows … Over
13 February 2012 3:00 pm
When a hurricane hits, a considerable fraction of offshore wind turbines proposed along some areas of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast could buckle and collapse, according to a new study. In the most costly damage scenario, individual turbines wouldn't be able to minimize stresses imposed by hurricane-force winds by turning to face the storm, either because they can't swivel fast enough or don't have battery backup that enables such motion during power outages. In the shallow waters off Galveston County, Texas—the riskiest of the four areas for non-swiveling turbines, largely due to the frequency of strong hurricanes there—there's a 60% chance that at least one such support tower in a 50-turbine wind farm will buckle during a 20-year interval and a 30% chance that more than half of them will buckle, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Offshore of Dare County, North Carolina, there's a 60% chance that at least one tower in a 50-turbine wind farm will buckle but only a 9% chance that more than half of the turbines there will. Results suggest that beefing up turbine support towers—as well as making sure that turbines will be able to swivel rapidly in case of rapidly changing winds, such as those likely during a hurricane—will greatly enhance the probability that offshore wind farms can help meet U.S. needs for renewable electricity, the researchers say.
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*This item has been updated to reflect that offshore wind turbines are being proposed for areas of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf Coast.