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Monday, August 25, 2008

I never would have thought of this...

... but now that it's been brought up, it does make sense.

Wind farms are already known to be a danger to birds because they fly into the blades. Now we know that the drop in air pressure caused by the blades kill bats by causing the blood vessels in their lungs to burst!

Study find wind turbines can kill bats without touching them.

Canadian researchers have found wind turbines can kill bats without them actually flying into the blades.

Scientists at the University of Calgary have discovered that bats can die from a lowering in the air pressure close to the blades of the turbines which causes fatal damage to the bats' lungs. A similar condition is called the bends in humans and can occur during ascents and descents by divers and airline passengers.

"As a turbine blade goes around, it creates lift—like an airplane's wings—and there is a small zone of [dropping] pressure, maybe a meter or so in diameter, on the tips of the blades," explained Erin Baerwald, a doctoral candidate at the University of Calgary, in Alberta, who led the research.

"Bats fly through this area, and their lungs expand, and the fine capillaries around the edges of the lungs burst," Baerwald said to the National Geographic.

Alberta wind farms prove deadly for bats.

Air pressure changes caused by wind farms are killing large numbers of bats, say biologists who are studying the tiny corpses falling out of the sky near turbines in southern Alberta.

They say the bats' lungs over-inflate as air pressure drops near the fast-spinning turbines bursting blood vessels and capillaries.

"Their lungs fill with fluid and they can no longer breathe," says Erin Baerwald, of the University of Calgary, lead author of a report on the bat deaths released Monday by the journal Current Biology.

What a horrible way to die. :-(

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