Could Extreme Wind Turbine Usage Alter Weather Patterns?

germany_smwhr_wind-turbine_gathering-stormWhile there’s no Hancock to save the world from global warming, I guess we have to do that ourselves. We try and try, struggle with all the issues nature has put in our face, but yet we don’t succeed with 100% efficiency, or we don’t convert our efforts well enough to capture the forces that move around us freely.

This is the case with wind power. While I was on a trip to Italy this summer, passing through Austria I saw huge fields with huge wind turbines, spinning and producing electricity. Europe is, indeed, a pioneer in wind power, and despite some saying that actual wind turbines are not efficient and they produce more carbon dioxide than they save (by maintenance costs and labor), the old wind mills are getting us almost free energy, which it is sometimes in excess (see the case of Denmark). Nobody thought for decades that intense usage of this kind of energy capturing device could have other effects.

Daniel Barrie and Daniel Kirk Davidoff, from the University of Maryland, conducted an experiment aimed to demostrate what huge wind turbine fields could do to the environment, extra to producing electricity. They took the pattern of expanding turbine fields to an extreme, and used a computer model to calculate what might happen if all the land from Texas to central Canada, and from the Great Lakes to the Rocky Mountains were covered in one massive wind farm.

What did they get with this simulation? They got a decrease of the wind speed with 2-3 meters per second (5.5 – 6.7 mph), plus a disruption of the air currents over all the north hemisphere. And that could be a source for storms, hurricanes, and other meteorological phenomena.

Wind’s energy comes from the Sun, and that is anyway our primary force of moving. I guess the diversification of the alternative energy sources will never let wind power evolve too much so to create extra hurricanes, or alter the weather so bad that we’d have to strengthen the saying “there’s no free lunch” to a maximum that we won’t use wind power anymore. The main idea is that we should use solar power directly and not interfere with the planet’s own eco-systems again, like we did with fossil fuels. Solar power, if used directly, can’t do any harm, unless used to burn.

On the other hand… who knows?


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