"Wind Farms, Global Warming Connection Lukewarm At Best"

Early headlines in some "news" media about a study discussing the effect of wind turbines on local microclimates drastically misstated the findings and implications of the study, various debunkers point out.

"A study released yesterday by researchers finds that large wind farms may impact local temperatures, noting a night warming effect in certain areas in Texas caused by 'the turbulence in turbine wakes acting like fans to pull down warmer near surface air from higher altitudes at night.' As Natural Resources Defense Council already pointed out, select media outlets covering this study have generated bad headlines which conflate 'small-scale, local impacts on nighttime land surface temperatures and global climate disruption.'

To offer some clarity on the subject, the researchers behind the original study have released a detailed Q&A addressing concerns. As Media Matters points out in this Q&A, the scientists basically debunk what is termed 'misleading' coverage of the study. Other media outlets, such as Christian Science Monitor and Washington Post, also call into question how the study is being characterized.

To give you insight into the researchers’ own interpretation of their study, we’ve provided the entire Q&A below for your consideration. But here is the net take away:  Very likely, the wind turbines do not create a net warming of the air and instead only redistribute the air’s heat from above to near the surface (that is, the turbine itself does not generate any heat). This is fundamentally different from the large-scale warming effect caused by increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases."

Nino Marchetti reports for Earth Techling April 30, 2012.

SEE ALSO:

"Wind Farms Do Not Cause Climate Change" (Grist)

"Impacts of Wind Farms on Land Surface Temperature" (Nature Climate Change, Abstract)

"New Research Shows Wind Farms Cause Global Warming" (Fox News)

"Wind Farms May Have Warming Effect: Research" (Reuters)

Press release of April 29, 2012: "UAlbany Research Finds Wind Farms May Im2pact Local Temperature" (SUNY at Albany)

"Wind Farms And 'Climate Change' -- Fact Vs Fiction" (NRDC via Earth Techling)

"Scientist Debunks 'Misleading' Coverage Of Wind Farm Study" (Media Matters)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012