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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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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.