Wind energy can increase the temperature on earth, according to the Harvard study

WASHINGTON – The boosting of wind energy in America would also drive the temperature of the nation, discovered a new study from Harvard.

Although wind energy is celebrated on a large scale as environmentally friendly, the researchers concluded that a dramatic, total increase in the number of turbines could heat the country even more than climate change by burning coal and other fossil fuels, due to the way the rotating blades are disrupted. the layers of hot and cold air in the atmosphere.

Some parts of the central United States already see nights that are 2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer due to nearby wind farms, says lead author Lee Miller, environmental researcher at Harvard.

"Every major energy system has an impact on the environment," says Harvard, professor of engineering and physics, David Keith, co-author of a study. "There is no free lunch, but you wind up on a large enough scale … it will change things."

The researchers and other scientists stressed that climate change by greenhouse gas emissions is clearly a much greater threat globally and in the long run than turbine-induced warming, which is temporary and stops when the blades are not running.

Despite the potential drawbacks, wind energy still makes more sense for the environment than fossil fuels, Keith said.

It's just that proponents of wind power are ignoring growing evidence of a disadvantage, he said.

Overall, the study of Harvard, published Thursday in the journal Joule. discovered that in the unlikely event that the US massively switched to wind to supply almost all of its electricity, there would be so many turbines that the temperature of the country would rise by about 0.4 degrees on average. Some central areas would see localized warming around 2.5 degrees, although there would also be some cooling in places such as the east coast.

At the moment, according to the American Wind Energy Association, wind supplies 6.3 percent of the country's electricity.

The study, which only looked at the United States, said that the turbines would cause more warming in the short term than the carbon dioxide that spits America into the atmosphere.

The reason for this effect: Normally the air is quiet more at night, with cold air near the surface and warmer air slightly higher. But turbines bring the hot air down and cool the air, making the ground a little toastter. The effect is seen less during the day, but is still there.

Yet the effect of turbines is different from man-made climate change. It mainly consists of global warming, it is local and it is temporary. When the turbines are still because the air is calm, there is no warming.

Climate change, on the other hand, is a global effect that includes many more elements than temperature, such as sea level rise, extreme weather, melting glaciers and shifts in the jetstream. Even if a country would stop emitting greenhouse gases, it would still experience climate change if the rest of the world remained polluting.

Past studies have observed temporary nocturnal warming of up to 2 degrees (1.1 degrees Celsius) in places with many wind turbines, such as North Texas. The Harvard study took observations and used computer simulation to project how a dramatic increase in turbines would look for temperatures.

Other technologies that are considered environmentally friendly also have their drawbacks. Nuclear energy has no CO2 emissions, but there are concerns about waste, safety and costs. The boom in ethanol has wiped out habitats, encouraged farmers to plow over prairies, caused water pollution and increased food prices.

Wind lawyers emphasized that the Harvard study does not show turbines that cause global warming, but only local heating.

"If paper instead reviews the global and sustainable time scales that matter, renewable resources would not be infinitely better than fossil resources hundreds of times," Michael Goggin, vice president of Grid Strategies and a former researcher for a wind energy group said in a statement.

Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science who was not part of the research, said the study is sound.

"The climate effect of burning fossil fuels is cumulative," Caldeira said in an e-mail. "The longer you run a coal-fired power plant, the worse the climate change will be, the wind turbine will have the climate effect." "You build the wind turbine." The climate is influenced, but as long as you turn the wind turbine, climate change does not get any worse. In the long term, as far as the climate is concerned, wind turbines are clearly better than fossil fuels. "



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