The Tallest Wind Turbine Ever Will Float Above Alaska

A thousand feet off the ground, the wind blows brisk and uninterrupted. But how do you build such a tall, thin beam to support a turbine’s blades? You don’t — you float the generator in a giant helium balloon. The world’s first floating commercial wind turbine will soon be hovering over Fairbanks, Alaska.

Offshore Wind Farms Might Save Us From Hurricanes

In the match-up of wind turbine versus hurricane, our bets have traditionally been with the hurricane. But think about it this way: wind turbines are designed to suck energy out of wind. What if they could suck out so much energy that hurricanes like Katrina or Sandy never form in the first place — with the potentially destructive storm instead spun directly into electricity? That’s the win-win situation posited in a new study from Stanford and University of Delaware researchers.

This Wind-Powered Tumbleweed Robot Aims To End Desertification

Robots have a hard time walking. They’re getting better! But we’re a ways away from having a robot that you can send on an excursion through a dune-covered desert. That’s why, when he wanted to design a robot to collect climate data, designer Shlomi Mir looked to nature. Specifically, to tumbleweeds.

The Best Science Visualisations Of The Year

From microscopic coral to massive planets, the natural world is full of beauty on a scale that can only be seen with the aid of a microscopic or a telescope. Announced today, the winners of the 11th annual International Science and Engineering Visualisation Challenge — sponsored by the journal Science and the US National Science Foundation — zoom into microscopic scales and zoom out onto planetary scales.

These Bizarre Snow Rolls Were Actually Created By The Wind

Earlier this week, Pennsylvanians woke up to backyards full of curious snow formations. The hollow cylinders varied in shape and size from doughnuts to hay bales to rolled-up carpet. They are snow rollers, making their first appearance in Pennsylvania in 10 years.

Watch These Wind Turbines Shoot Incredible Lightning Into A Storm

We all know wind turbines can produce electricity, but have you seen them produce lightning? When scientists trained high-speed cameras on a wind farm in Spain, they captured lightning bolts shooting out of the wind turbines. Tall structures like towers can initiate ground-to-cloud lightning, but ever-spinning wind turbines present a unique challenge.

How Wind And Dust Are Spreading A Deadly Fungal Disease

Called the “silent epidemic,” a little-known fungal disease called valley fever has become 10 times more common in the past decade. Its fungal spores are being spread by dust storms in the American Southwest. Exactly why valley fever suddenly increased has nagged at public health officials, but a piece in The New Yorker suggests something quite prosaic is partially responsible — construction.

Be Totally Entranced By These Technicolour Winds Swirling Around Earth

Earth from above is a beautiful sight and, apart from cats and porn, there’s almost nothing the internet likes more at the moment than data visualisations. Combine the two and you’ve got solid gold — or in Earth’s case, a stunning, technicolour look at global wind and weather conditions.

Monster Machines: World's Biggest Test Bench Puts Wind Turbines Through The Wringer

Vestas’ latest and greatest offshore wind turbine, the 8MW V164, is designed to operate for a quarter century with minimal upkeep. To ensure that these massive turbines (their blade sweep area is equal to three football fields) are robust enough for 25 years of service in the North Atlantic, Vestas tortures its housings atop an equally gargantuan test bed.

Where Does Wind Come From?

There are few things as refreshing as feeling the wind blow against your hair. There are few things as scary as violent winds smashing and crumbling a town. So what is wind? And where does it even come from?