Scientists confirm that wind turbines have an effect on the environment

May 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Wind-Energy

Wind farm criticized by media as contributors to climate change

Wind energy has been surrounded with mild controversy recently. Some media outlets, such as Fox News, who employ prominent personalities, have claimed that wind farms are a cause of global warming and climate change. These allegations have been refuted by environmentalists and some alternative energy advocacy groups, but the science community has been divided on the issue. Some have argued that wind turbines do have an impact on the climate, while others consider the notion to be baseless. Researchers from the University of Albany may have found an answer.

Researchers investigate the impact of wind turbines

Led by scientist Liming Zhou, researchers conducted a study of ground surface temperatures at wind farms between the years of 2003 and 2011. The team aimed to study the concept that wind turbines contributed to global warming. This concept is encompassed in the fact that these wind turbines circulate hot air. At night, hot air rises as the earth’s surface cools. This hot hair loses temperature the higher it gets and has no impact on the climate. Wind turbines, however, can push this hot air back to the surface of the earth, allowing the air to keep its temperature and heating its surroundings. Researchers have found that this phenomenon does indeed contribute to climate change, though not in the way some may think.

Wind farms have modest influence on local climate

Climate change is a multi-faceted issue. Many consider the climate to be a global topic, but researchers insist that the world is made up of multiple climates rather than a singular one. These climates react differently to stimulus, with some faring more favorably to the problems presented by climate change and others less favorably. Liming Zhou notes that wind farms do contribute to climate change, but only in the local sense. The areas in which these wind farms exist are moderately warmer than areas without wind turbines.

Wind energy not expected to lose momentum due to finding

Alternative energy is often subjected to controversy and skepticism. This is partly due to politics concerning climate change. Wind energy is often a target of skepticism because it has yet to find a place of acceptance similar to that apparent with solar energy. Nonetheless, wind energy is still experiencing promising growth around the world as more countries begin to consider alternative energy an economic issue rather than a political issue.

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