I understand that the wind is caused by a differential in atmospheric pressure, but say that a city built in an extremely flat landscape is constantly threatened/harassed by the wind and wind-related incidents.

What would the core of engineers come up with as a solution given a tech level of present-day to perhaps 25 years in the future?

Background: The city has poor soil structure (hence minimal terraforming) and the wind threatens their crop yields because of poor water retention in soil and root structures. Bedrock is fairly reachable and building materials are not scarce through trade.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to world building! What tech level? $\endgroup$ – Joe Kissling Jun 2 '17 at 18:12
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks! Let's say present-day tech to perhaps 25 years in the future. $\endgroup$ – Reed Jun 2 '17 at 18:16
  • $\begingroup$ Build underground? $\endgroup$ – Dan Pichelman Jun 2 '17 at 18:34
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    $\begingroup$ BULD THE WALL - Donald Trump $\endgroup$ – Joe Kissling Jun 2 '17 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ @DanPichelman Thanks for the response! I've added more detail in the OP regarding the background of the city. Apologies as I'm new to this community! Building underground wouldn't be feasible as this is also an established city and they have poor conditions for subterranean dwelling. $\endgroup$ – Reed Jun 2 '17 at 18:40

Windbreaks, and wind turbines.

Per the US Department of Energy, a good windbreak can reduce windspeed for a distance of around 30 x the windbreak's height. A 30-metre high windbreak would be needed to protect 1 km of space. That's a decent height to build, but it's not impossible.

Construction methods will vary depending on conditions and available materials. It could be as simple as an earthen bank - you could make it even more efficient by digging soil from the field you want to protect, reducing its height, and using that to build your windbreak. If you're worried about erosion, flood waters, etc, you would build around a central core of steel pilings driven into the soil, surrounded with gravel and/or concrete, then pile the soil around that.

You would then line the windward side of your bank with wind turbines for power generation. Exactly how the turbines would affect the wind flow is not currently clear - it's an area of active research - but in 25 years, and with a lab as effective as this colony, we can be reasonably sure the engineeers would be able to place them efficiently.

And, nitpick - the engineers are a corps, not a core. It's pronounced the same, but has a very different meaning.

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  • $\begingroup$ Wind turbines are cool. I might try to incorporate maybe one mega-large one. Make it a psudo-godly structure. A lifeline of the city. Has some good potential for rising action. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Reed Jun 2 '17 at 19:08

The traditional solution is to use rows or trees.

A windbreak (shelterbelt) is a plantation usually made up of one or more rows of trees or shrubs planted in such a manner as to provide shelter from the wind and to protect soil from erosion. They are commonly planted in hedgerows around the edges of fields on farms. If designed properly, windbreaks around a home can reduce the cost of heating and cooling and save energy. Windbreaks are also planted to help keep snow from drifting onto roadways and even yards.1 Other benefits include contributing to a microclimate around crops (with slightly less drying and chilling at night), providing habitat for wildlife, and, in some regions, providing wood if the trees are harvested.

The more of these rows you create on the windward side of the city, more energy you remove from the lowest level of the wind. This will decrease the wind in the city unless you build taller than the trees.

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  • $\begingroup$ The only problem with this answer is that the soil content is so bad already that the trees can't grow tall because of the poor soil for their roots, and the ones that do grow tall enough get blown down in wind storms. That's why I was leaning more inorganic. Another user suggested a GMO tree, which is something fun to consider. I appreciate the answer! $\endgroup$ – Reed Jun 2 '17 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ If you look at the link, they talk about hedges too. The hedges will also help trap the blowing soil. However, artificial barriers will work too if you use them in the same way. $\endgroup$ – ShadoCat Jun 2 '17 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ So I found a PDF to windbreak spatial analysis and it has effectiveness as a function of porosity, height, and distance from the windbreak. An interesting picture for estimating what kind of structures/growths would need to be present to be effective. imgur.com/uV1VvoO $\endgroup$ – Reed Jun 2 '17 at 19:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Reed don't forget that if the general wind pattern is predictable (as is true for quite a lot of the Earth) then your city itself is probably going to form a pretty good windbreak, particularly if it has a dense urban centre. $\endgroup$ – origimbo Jun 2 '17 at 23:26

This problem was earlyer faced in the dust bowl during the great depression in America. Look at dry land farming technics for some idea.


If trees cannot grow here you could use artificial wind breaks instead (walls). You could genetically engineer trees to be able to grow better at this location. Or you could build underground.

My favorite is gene edited trees. Once done you just plant the seeds about. There are however potential ramifications.

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  • $\begingroup$ I didn't think to look at dust bowl farming, good suggestion! This city is under conditions slightly like that. So I think I can draw some good parallels there. A GMO tree, maybe some traits of bamboo for fast growth was also one of my thoughts. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Reed Jun 2 '17 at 19:07

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