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UD research on sea breeze could benefit wind energy development

Delaware Public Media


A new study on sea breeze in the Delaware Bay could benefit efforts to develop offshore wind farms along the coast.

Sea breeze happens because the air that flows over land has a different pressure than the air flowing over the water. The strength of sea breeze depends on the difference in surface temperatures over the land and ocean -- the bigger this difference, the stronger that sea breeze will blow.  

Dana Veron, geography professor at University of Delaware and researcher on the study, says that sea breeze can greatly influence wind speed and direction. Understanding how it works is crucial in tapping the wind energy potential in southern Delaware.

“When the sea breeze happens, the wind speed and direction is going to change so if we want to predict what the wind speed is going to be at a particular time so we know the amount the wind energy we can harvest, we have to know when the sea breeze is going to begin and end," said Veron.

Veron also hopes to find out how sea breeze differs between the New Jersey and the Delaware sides of the bay. UD has been tracking it in the bay by using weather monitoring equipment on the Cape-May Lewes Ferry.

“It’s providing us information we haven’t had before. It’s as if we had a string of sensors all across the mouth of the bay as opposed to what we had previously, which was just a single-point measurement," said Veron.

This ongoing study is funded by the Delaware Sea Grant. The public will be able to access the data online through the Delaware Environmental Observing System.

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