Wind farms are warming the earth, researchers say

“It shows that we need to think carefully about the unintended environmental consequences of any large-scale energy development,” Dabiri said, “including green technologies.”

By Eric Niiler, Discovery News
New research finds that wind farms actually warm up the surface of the land underneath them during the night, a phenomena that could put a damper on efforts to expand wind energy as a green energy solution.
Researchers used satellite data from 2003 to 2011 to examine surface temperatures across as wide swath of west Texas, which has built four of the world’s largest wind farms. The data showed a direct correlation between night-time temperatures increases of 0.72 degrees C (1.3 degrees F) and the placement of the farms.
“Given the present installed capacity and the projected growth in installation of wind farms across the world, I feel that wind farms, if spatially large enough, might have noticeable impacts on local to regional meteorology,” Liming Zhou, associate professor at the State University of New York, Albany and author of the paper published April 29 in Nature Climate Change said in an e-mail to Discovery News.  Read article

8 thoughts on “Wind farms are warming the earth, researchers say

  1. And with those higher night time temperatures comes greater evaporation and thus drier soil….Welcome to the world of just another one of the Law of Unintended Consequences of IWTs.

    • So could a neighbouring farmer sue for crop damage related to altered temp. from a wind farm?

      • Probably… the farmer would just have to prove it. Good luck on trying to make the case for a cause and effect relationship …..we all know what that’s like.

      • The neighbouring farmer with the IWTs will ruin his own crops too.

  2. And I though the only hot air associated with IWT’s was coming out of McWindy’s mouth. Now it seems we’re not only losing the use of the land the IWT stands on, along with an access road to get to it, but the productivity of the land near it.

  3. Solar – Made in Ontario – Not so Fast
    Toxic Waste?
    What’s the plan?

    Update on Solyndra:
    MILPITAS (CBS 5) — Three months ago, CBS 5 caught Solyndra tossing millions of dollars worth of brand new glass tubes used to make solar panels. Now the bankrupt solar firm, once touted as a symbol of green technology, may be trying to abandon toxic waste.
    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/04/28/solyndra-not-dealing-with-toxic-waste-at-milpitas-facility/

    Made in Ontario:
    Eclipsall Energy, which has a 120,000-square foot manufacturing facility in Toronto, and Heliene, manufacturing out of an 18,000-square foot facility in Sault St. Marie, are among those expected to cough up the $12,000 annual fee to join the testing program.

    “Obviously, the more we have the more value that brings to this project,” says Luukkenon. “Another purpose here is to provide a showcase for Ontario-made technology and manufacturing for the tens of thousands of people who pass through each year.”

    Manufacturers would be wise to join, even at the risk of having their panels rank at the low end of the pack. Those who don’t join will be sending a signal to developers and consumers that they don’t want their equipment being closely inspected.
    http://www.thestar.com/business/cleanbreak/article/1038118–putting-ontario-made-solar-panels-to-the-test

    So – what is Ontario’s plan for the toxic waste?

    • Let’s not forget!

      The situation in Li’s village points to the environmental trade-offs the world is making as it races to head off a dwindling supply of fossil fuels.

      Forests are being cleared to grow biofuels like palm oil, but scientists argue that the disappearance of such huge swaths of forests is contributing to climate change. Hydropower dams are being constructed to replace coal-fired power plants, but they are submerging whole ecosystems under water.

      Likewise in China, the push to get into the solar energy market is having unexpected consequences.
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/08/AR2008030802595.html

      If it happened in China – should we be concerned in Ontario?

  4. I recommend that people go to the Roger Pielke Sr. site for the discussion (link follows):

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/new-paper-impacts-of-wind-farms-on-land-surface-temperature-by-zhou-et-al-2012-documents-an-effect-of-local-and-regional-landscape-change-on-long-term-surface-air-temperature-trends/

    It will link you to the original papers and papers covering similar issues as well as Q&Q byt the authors about the original press release — which has a typo claiming the data analyzed is up to 2013 — good research if you can do it… On the other hand maybe these guys are “really” good…

    Zhou, Liming, Yuhong Tian, Somnath Baidya Roy, Chris Thorncroft, Lance F. Bosart and Yuanlong Hu 2012: Impacts of wind farms on land surface temperature. Nature Climate Change. doi:10.1038/nclimate1505

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