A team of scientists from the University of Albany, led by Liming Zhou, released a study in the journal Nature Climate Change after observing the impact of wind turbines on the atmosphere. The team’s findings indicated that wind turbines contribute to the warming of air. Unsurprisingly, this was quickly interpreted to mean that wind turbines can cause global warming, according to Fox News, which ran a headline that stated just that. The headline read, “New research shows wind farms cause global warming.”
Washington Post environmental reporter Brad Plumer then wrote a rebuttal, titled “No, wind farms are not causing global warming.”
In a question and answer portion of the published research article, Zhou states, “Very likely, the wind turbines do not create a net warming of the air and instead only re-distribute the air’s heat near the surface, which is fundamentally different from the large-scale warming effect caused by increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.”
Plumer cited Stanford environmental engineer Mark Jacobson who researches the impact of wind turbines on temperatures. Jacobson calculated the amount of energy consumed by the world and equated that to the amount of wind energy needed to support that amount, and found that 72 terawatts of wind energy have potential to be harnessed.
“The key thing to note is that, for now, humanity doesn’t use anywhere near enough wind power to make a big difference to global wind patterns,” Plumer writes.
Read Jacobson’s research at http://bit.ly/WindStudy and Plumer’s blog at http://wapo.st/J5bg3j.