Thursday, 3 May 2012

Wind power = global warming?

On the subject of wind farms (see previous post), reported this week on an article in Nature Climate Change entitled ‘Impacts of wind farms on land surface temperature’. The academics that wrote the paper carried out a study of an area in west central Texas where four of the world's biggest wind farms are located. They found that the local temperature increased as the turbines drew warmer air higher up in the atmosphere closer to the ground.

According to, one of the authors said that the warming effect was local and small compared to the background year-on-year land surface temperature changes. Most likely the wind turbines do not create any net warming but just redistribute the air’s heat near the surface.

But that didn’t stop Fox News from publishing a story under the headline "New research shows wind farms cause global warming." There was no coverage of the author’s comments and the Fox item went on to say that the research is "casting a shadow over the long-term sustainability of wind power".

Just so you know.

© The Green IT Review


  1. The authors should have been more careful in presenting their results, which show only that surface temperatures increase. Anyone who has stirred a bowl of hot soup should be able to understand what is going on. Yes, the sides of the bowl are hotter when stirred, but the soup cools faster.

    Surface cooling occurs because the ground surface is a radiative heat sink and still air is a poor heat conductor. When the air is stirred, more heat reaches the ground and it is likely that there is net cooling in the air column because the heat sink becomes more efficient.

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