Wind farms “cause climate change” – Not!

So the UK’s Telegraph has an article with the following headline and subheading:

“Wind farms can cause climate change, finds new study”

“Wind farms can cause climate change, according to new research, that shows for the first time the new technology is already pushing up temperatures.”

Wow. And here were we foolish greenies, thinking they were helping us to cut greenhouse emissions.

Now here’s the beginning of the article that some ideological crusader of an editor pinned that incredible headline onto:

Usually at night the air closer to the ground becomes colder when the sun goes down and the earth cools.

But on huge wind farms the motion of the turbines mixes the air higher in the atmosphere that is warmer, pushing up the overall temperature.

Satellite data over a large area in Texas, that is now covered by four of the world’s largest wind farms, found that over a decade the local temperature went up by almost 1C as more turbines are built.

This could have long term effects on wildlife living in the immediate areas of larger wind farms.

It could also affect regional weather patterns as warmer areas affect the formation of cloud and even wind speeds.

So the article is rather more accurate, although we could point out that turbines are not “pushing up the overall temperature”, they are adding no extra heat; what they are doing is redistributing existing heat.

The article concludes with this:

Professor Steven Sherwood, co-Director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, said the research was ‘pretty solid’.

“This makes sense, since at night the ground becomes much cooler than the air just a few hundred meters above the surface, and the wind farms generate gentle turbulence near the ground that causes these to mix together, thus the ground doesn’t get quite as cool. This same strategy is commonly used by fruit growers (who fly helicopters over the orchards rather than windmills) to combat early morning frosts.”

Indeed, at Bacchus Marsh just west of Melbourne, you may see giant fans above fields of vegetable crops by the freeway; these (I was recently told) are also to prevent frost on sensitive crops.

The Sydney Morning Herald (and many other outlets) have a more accurate report on this research.

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