Perhaps the number one reason for pushing so-called clean, green renewable energy projects is to reduce warming that, according to climate change proponents, increases climate volatility–(formerly known as global warming and now increasingly identified as the wild but undefined “change” that so worries them)–creating the need to build ever more renewable projects.
But according to the latest scientific observations, at least one of those technologies has a rather troubling and substantial down side:
Using sensors aboard a NASA satellite, researchers at the University at Albany-State University of New York, and the University of Illinois systematically tracked a cluster of wind farms in central Texas as the installations grew from a few dozen turbines in 2003 to more than 2,350 by 2011.
On average, the nighttime air around the wind farms became about 0.72 degree Celsius warmer over that time, compared with the surrounding area, the scientists reported Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change.
“The warming trend corresponds very well with the growth of the wind turbines,” said wind-energy expert Somnath Baidya Roy at the University of Illinois, who was part of the research group. “The warming is going to level off when you stop adding more turbines.”
From another report on the same story:
While converting the kinetic energy of wind into electricity, wind turbines modify exchanges between the ground and atmosphere, and affect the transfer of energy, momentum, mass and moisture within the air, the authors of the study said.
“Our results show a significant warming trend of up to 0.72 degree per decade, particularly at night-time, over wind farms relative to nearby non-wind-farm regions,” wrote lead author Liming Zhou, a Research Associate Professor from the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at University at Albany. “We attribute this warming primarily to wind farms as its spatial pattern and magnitude couples very well with the geographic distribution of wind turbines.”
With calls for increasing wind farm generation through renewable energy mandates or increasing government subsidies over the next two decades, this warming effect could pose significant local problems if the amount of increase–0.72 degrees Celsius–holds.
That’s more than three times the amount of temperature increase per decade estimated by climate change advocates:
Scientists say the world’s average temperature has warmed by about 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1900, and nearly 0.2 degrees per decade since 1979. Efforts to cut carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions are not seen as sufficient to stop the planet heating up beyond 2 degrees C this century, a threshold scientists say risks an unstable climate in which weather extremes are common.
From the WSJ: