Large-scale wind power causes warming that’ll take a 100 years to offset

The most accurate modelling yet shows increasing wind power would affect climate, finding that large-scale wind power generation would warm the Continental United States by 0.24 degrees Celsius, because wind turbines redistribute heat in the atmosphere



To compare the effects of wind and solar, researchers at Harvard University began by forming a reference point for the 2012-2014 US climate, using a regular weather forecasting model. Then they added in the effect on the atmosphere of covering one third of the Continental US with sufficient wind turbines to meet current US electricity needs.


This is a relevant situation if wind power plays a major role in de-carbonizing the energy system in the second half of this century. This setting would warm the surface temperature of the Continental US by 0.24 degrees Celsius.


The study focused on the evaluation of climate impacts and benefits. Accordingly, it would take about a century to counterbalance that effect with wind-related cutbacks in greenhouse gas concentrations. This period was roughly free of the precise choice of total wind power generation in these set-ups


 

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