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High-resolution modelling of uplift landscapes can inform micro-siting of wind turbines for soaring raptors

Citation

Hanssen, Frank; May, Roel; Nygård, Torgeir (2021), High-resolution modelling of uplift landscapes can inform micro-siting of wind turbines for soaring raptors, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.ghx3ffbjn

Abstract

Collision risk of soaring birds is partly associated with updrafts to which they are attracted. To identify risk-enhancing landscape features, a micro-siting tool was developed to model orographic and thermal updraft velocities from high-resolution remote sensing data. The tool was applied to the island of Hitra, and validated using GPS-tracked white-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla). Resource selection functions predicted that eagles preferred ridges with high orographic uplift, especially at flight altitudes within the rotor-swept zone (40-110 m). Flight activity was negatively associated with the widely distributed areas with high thermal uplift at lower flight altitudes (<110 m). Both the existing wind-power plant and planned extension are placed at locations rendering maximum orographic updraft velocities around the minimum sink rate for white-tailed eagles (0.75 m/s) but slightly higher thermal updraft velocities. The tool can contribute to improved micro-siting of wind turbines to reduce environmental impacts, especially for soaring raptors.

Funding

Research Council of Norway, Award: 226241