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Change in the Weather? Wind farms might affect local climates

Large groups of power-generating windmills could have a small but detectable influence on a region's climate, new analyses suggest.

Windmills once were quaint several-story-high mechanisms that pumped water or ground grain. They've since evolved into sky-scraping behemoths that can each generate electrical power for more than 100 homes.

Some modern turbines are 72 meters tall and have rotor blades that are about 25 m long, says S. Baidya Roy of Duke University in Durham, N.C. Future windmills may reach higher than 100 m, and their rotor blades may measure 50 m long, he notes.

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