Windmills cause climate change!

Most amusing:

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

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.

Chortle chortle.

Also, it is much smaller than the estimated change caused by other factors such as man made global warming.

Err, no, it ain\’t. The wind farms manage 1oC per decade, or in a decade whichever: I believe AGW is held to be responsible for 0.8 0C since the industrial revolution so far?

Anyway, the real issue is of course that we\’ll have to revisit the temperature record from any measuring stations that have had wind famrs built around them and then adjust those records for that local and known effect, won\’t we?

36 comments on “Windmills cause climate change!

  1. I had a good laugh about that, it’s fairly obvious really you convert kinetic energy into electricity and get heat as a bi product
    Silly eco mentalists.

  2. If you read the Telegraph article (exhausting I know) you’d find that “almost 1 degree” is the Telegraph’s rounding of “up to 0.72″ degrees. And this is a ground effect caused by mixing, not an overall warming effect.

  3. Paul, that doesn’t mean you (well, not ‘you’, I suspect) won’t need to correct the readings for any local measuring stations.

    Although, as that would be a correction in a cooling direction, we know it will be ignored by all of the usual suspects.

  4. Sloppy reporting from the Telegraph. It’s not warming per decade or anything like that, it’s a localised increase in mean nighttime temperatures. It’s not additive.

  5. Of course no energy conversion is 100% efficient. But 0.7 degrees over ? 150 m by Texas is a truly humungous amount of calories.
    Which suggests that either the windmills are very very inefficient, or something else is going on.

  6. Think it through & you’ll realise there’s no climate warming effect whatsoever.
    The energy is in the wind. The bird shredders remove some of the energy as electricity but the process of doing so isn’t 100% efficient so it also creates heat. The heat comes from the loss of air velocity. But that was always going to be expressed as heat as the wind, interacting with the surface, dissipates its energy. The energy captured in the electricity, of course, turns up somewhere else when it does work. Net result is zero.
    The whole thing is particularly amusing, having gotten into a tiff with some university bods over their advocating large areas of the sea with windfarms. Had the temerity to point out the heating of the air due to inefficiency could influence wind patterns & got severely patronised for my trouble. Had the sweet experience of sending them the link to a scientific paper discussing exactly that, with the aid of lots of complicated maths, published the following week.

  7. As I’ve posted elsewhere, those must be the global warming wind farms.

    There are also some global cooling wind farms:

    Modelling performed by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, has shown that these vast wind farms, if installed in offshore regions, could reduce the temperature of the lower atmosphere above the site by 1 °C.

  8. Yeah this was really stupid. This was a purely localised effect. Think about it: how can wind farms affect the global energy balance? It’s not like they contribute to radiative forcing.

  9. You’re an idiot, and so are a number of your commentators.

    First off, you really shouldn’t be stupid enough to believe anything at all you read about climate in the Torygraph without checking it elsewhere.

    Second, this is only a localised effect. It only affects wind farms, it only affects them at night, and it only affects them under certain very specific weather conditions, and it only affects some wind farms (if you want to know the details, do ask, though with a small amount of thought its possible to work it out for yourself).

    Third, the warming effect comes from increased mixing of warmer upper air towards the surface in inversion conditions. So anyone saying, to take a purely random example “it’s fairly obvious really you convert kinetic energy into electricity and get heat as a bi product” or “The bird shredders remove some of the energy as electricity but the process of doing so isn’t 100% efficient so it also creates heat” is a cretin. I’m pleased to see that PaulB got it right, though.

    The idiots at WUWT also get it wrong. But Black of the Beeb gets it right.

    Are you going for the Ritchie award for Economic competence, Climatology section?

  10. The failed climate scientist (didn’t see him predict this by the way), is getting all upset, must be the lack of radios to repair.

    And no WUWT reference the story and provide the abstract.

    I can see why wiki William no longer gets grants.

  11. Welcome back, WC
    Glad you noticed there is a thermodynamic law known by us peasants as the conservation of energy.

    And…

  12. You, and your commentators are even more stupid than I took them for. Even the Torygraph has got the actual story correct. All you need to do is read beyond the headline.

    > didn’t see him predict this by the way

    Idiot. Didn’t you even bother read the Black article? There was no need to “predict” anything, this was already known – its just a larger followup to a 2010 story. There isn’t even anything new here, other than your ever-fresh ignorance.

  13. William M. Connolley – “You’re an idiot, and so are a number of your commentators.”

    And yet none of them to the best of my own knowledge have been banned from Wikipedia for persistent and dishonest edits. Who would have guessed it?

    “First off, you really shouldn’t be stupid enough to believe anything at all you read about climate in the Torygraph without checking it elsewhere.”

    Sure. We should take your word for it.

    “Second, this is only a localised effect. It only affects wind farms, it only affects them at night, and it only affects them under certain very specific weather conditions, and it only affects some wind farms”

    So frickin’ what? The Telegraph said as much. Yes it is a localized effect. So is much global warming. It may still, as the Telly said, have an effect on near-by plant life.

    “Third, the warming effect comes from increased mixing of warmer upper air towards the surface in inversion conditions.”

    So what? The atmosphere is cooler the higher you go as a general rule. Increased mixing of said atmosphere will lead to changed conditions on the surface. This is warming of the surface even if no extra energy is added to the system.

    “So anyone saying, to take a purely random example “it’s fairly obvious really you convert kinetic energy into electricity and get heat as a bi product” or “The bird shredders remove some of the energy as electricity but the process of doing so isn’t 100% efficient so it also creates heat” is a cretin.”

    Why are they cretins for stating the perfectly obvious and the perfectly true? It is impossible to convert kinetic energy into electricity with 100% efficiency. Much of the rest is turned into heat. As you would know if you, oh I don’t know, put a hand on the turbine perhaps? Not that it is all that relevant.

    “The idiots at WUWT also get it wrong. But Black of the Beeb gets it right.”

    Sure. We really believe you.

    So far you have done nothing whatsoever to show a word of these claims are wrong.

  14. PaulB – “And this is a ground effect caused by mixing, not an overall warming effect.”

    You mean it is not an overall warming effect on the whole atmosphere? Sure. If the Gulf Stream switches off, which it won’t, the world will still be warmer. But Europe will be a lot colder. Do you think that Europeans will be at all comforted by the idea that it is not an overall warming effect, but just a little localized cooling?

    5Adam Bell – “It’s not warming per decade or anything like that, it’s a localised increase in mean nighttime temperatures. It’s not additive.”

    No, although if the planet continues to warm, it will continue to redistribute some of that warmth to the ground.

    8PJH – “There are also some global cooling wind farms:

    “Modelling performed by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, has shown that these vast wind farms, if installed in offshore regions, could reduce the temperature of the lower atmosphere above the site by 1 °C.“”

    Models are evidence of what modellers think is going to happen. Not evidence of the real world. In climatology more than any other field. So no, you have not presented evidence that wind turbines cool. You have presented evidence that the people who want them to cool have crunched some numbers, run some poor simulations and think they will cool.

  15. Yes William, we are the idiots, unlike you who now edits articles for free on Wikipedia. Why that PhD was such value for money and made you so desirable to research groups around the world! What a “scientific authority” you are.

    YOU did not predict it, yet you claim others are idiots.WUWT refer to both the telegraph story and provide the abstract. May I suggest you try to be as truthful and dignified as Watts and then people may forgive your boorish buffoon like behaviour. Of course you will not, your failure which we can all see, grates doesn’t it William and of course we must be the stupid ones?

  16. WC,

    Why not address the specific points Tim made instead of knocking down a straw man:

    “Err, no, it ain’t. The wind farms manage 1oC per decade, or in a decade whichever: I believe AGW is held to be responsible for 0.8 0C since the industrial revolution so far?”

    OK this in Tim’s normal Tongue in Cheek comment but are you arguing that CO2 forcing isn’t 0.8Deg C +/- per doubling of CO2?

    But more importantly:

    “Anyway, the real issue is of course that we’ll have to revisit the temperature record from any measuring stations that have had wind famrs built around them and then adjust those records for that local and known effect, won’t we?”

    Are you saying that these records don’t need to be adjusted? If not why not? And isn’t this a re-run of the UHI affect that many AGW proponents have denied for years?

  17. I made you a blog posting: http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2012/04/supreme_irony_wind_farms_can_c.php You have to share it, though.

    > Why not address the specific points Tim made instead of knocking down a straw man:

    Oh, sorry. *All* of Timmy’s points are stupid. I thought that was obvious. OK, here we go:

    > “Err, no, it ain’t. The wind farms manage 1oC per decade, or in a decade whichever: I believe AGW is held to be responsible for 0.8 0C since the industrial revolution so far?”

    > OK this in Tim’s normal Tongue in Cheek comment but are you arguing that CO2 forcing isn’t 0.8Deg C +/- per doubling of CO2?

    Of course it isn’t (depending on exactly what you mean; I think you;re badly confused). Timmy is saying that CO2-warming-to-date is about 0.8 oC, which is correct. But CO2 hasn’t doubled. warming-at-CO2-doubling is more like 3 oC.

    But anyway, that all completely misses the point that this is an effect only over a teensy tinsey mimsey miniscule little area, so has no noticeable effect on the global average at all. So comparing it to the rate of global change is a very odd thing to do.

    > But more importantly:

    > “Anyway, the real issue is of course that we’ll have to revisit the temperature record from any measuring stations that have had wind famrs built around them and then adjust those records for that local and known effect, won’t we?”

    > Are you saying that these records don’t need to be adjusted? If not why not? And isn’t this a re-run of the UHI affect that many AGW proponents have denied for years?

    First off, as said above, this is a teensey…etc… area. Even if there were met stations there, and they were contaminated, it really wouldn’t matter to the global average. Or even the US average. But secondly, I’m dubious that there are met stations there feeding into the GTS. These are areas that were empty desert before the windfarms were built; it isn’t likely there was a station there. And thirdly, note that wind farms in, say, the Lake District won’t be affected. See if you can work out why.

  18. William M. Connolley – “Have you got any more septics, these ones are broken?”

    Oh look. William discovers that he f**ked up, and the laws of thermodynamics. How cute.

    21William M. Connolley – “I made you a blog posting:”

    And so William decides to increase his blog traffic and do a Ritchie by taking the conversation somewhere he controls the edits. How interesting.

    “Oh, sorry. *All* of Timmy’s points are stupid. I thought that was obvious.”

    Says the guy who failed basic conservation of energy. Yeah. Right.

    “But anyway, that all completely misses the point that this is an effect only over a teensy tinsey mimsey miniscule little area, so has no noticeable effect on the global average at all. So comparing it to the rate of global change is a very odd thing to do.”

    Sorry but how do you know it has an effect of a teensy, tinsey, mimsey, miniscule little area? The windmills are mixing air. How far down stream from the turbine do you think this effect reaches?

    “Even if there were met stations there, and they were contaminated, it really wouldn’t matter to the global average. Or even the US average.”

    Yes it would. The US average would be wrong because those stations were recording some 0.72C more warmth than they should. It would not heat up the world any more, but it would redistribute that heat in a way that is not natural and could therefore have an impact on the local environment. This matters.

    “And thirdly, note that wind farms in, say, the Lake District won’t be affected. See if you can work out why.”

    Do tell. The bigger question is likely to be off shore windfarms. There is more potential for damage there.

  19. Pingback: Supreme irony: wind farms can cause atmospheric warming, finds a new study? : Stoat

  20. Good god, Worstall, you’re not even wrong.

    Overall, the warming effect reported in this study is local and is small compared to the strong background year-to-year land surface temperature changes. Very likely, the wind turbines do not create a net warming of the air and instead only re-distribute the air’s heat near the surface (the turbine itself does not generate any heat), which is fundamentally different from the large-scale warming effect caused by increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.
    [...]
    Any implications for wind energy industry?

    We need to realize that the build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere due to the burning fossil fuel will have global impacts. Generating wind power creates no emissions, uses no water, and is likely green. Wind power is going to be a part of the solution to the climate change, air pollution and energy security problem. Understanding the impacts of wind farms is critical for developing efficient adaptation and management strategies to ensure long-term sustainability of wind power.

    That’s the authors of the paper in a press release about their paper. Google around for it*, and remember how to do it.

    * Clue (get one): Q&A on “Impacts of Wind Farms on Land Surface Temperature” Published by Nature Climate Change on April 29, 2012

    Tim adds: “Generating wind power creates no emissions, uses no water, and is likely green. ”

    That’s not usefully true. Sure, the actual operation generates no CO2 emissions. But we’ve still got to build the things, stick them in concrete foundations etc.

    There are definitely emissions from this: leading to total emissions from hte whole cycle to being around the same as nuclear and hydro.

  21. You can read the paper here

    And the press release here

    After you’ve all read it, we can I hope agree with Tim that we should be cautious in extrapolating warming trends from surface temperature measurements made near wind farms, and recognize that the paper is otherwise irrelevant to the debate on AGW, for which this is not in any case an appropriate forum.

  22. Tim — “Sure, the actual operation generates no CO2 emissions. But we’ve still got to build the things, stick them in concrete foundations etc.”

    The take home net effect is far less GHGs and warming than the same power being generated by fossil fuels. Windfarms do not cause global warming, end of.

    Which makes your post of today, ‘Oh George, really… Shouldn’t you read up on these things first?’ laughable.

    Tim adds: “The take home net effect is far less GHGs and warming than the same power being generated by fossil fuels.”

    Quite true. As I’ve said an endless number of times: onshore wind, hydro and nuclear have about the same total life cycle emissions. Solar PV is two to three tmes this. Gas about 10 x solar and coal higher again.

    “Windfarms do not cause global warming, end of.”

    That is not true. Less GW, sure, but not none.

  23. Pingback: Le pale eoliche causano il cambiamento climatico? — Nuove Tecnologie Energetiche

  24. “Less GW, sure, but not none.”

    Compared to the effects of fossil fuel extraction and emissions, less, a lot less, or negligible less?

    What are you scared of, Tim: progress, or being without energy?

    Tim adds: You might be interested to know what I do for a living…..provide the weird metals that make solid oxide fuel cells work for example.

    Or presently, I’m trying to increae the global supply of a rare earth metal so that others can go make windmill blades out of it, thus increasing their efficiency.

    I’m therefore not anti any of these renewables. But I do insist on keeping on about the economics of them.

  25. All the best scientists ‘publish’ on their blogs….then again some of them have grants. Bit rare round here.

    Oh wkiwilli did it take you that long to come up with such a poor ripost?

  26. @ J Bowers
    I have to constrain myself in case Frances or any other lady reads this BUT
    windfarms require massive energy use to smelt aluminium. Anyone who says hydro has the same lifetime emissions as wind is either ignorant or a liar.
    We don’t even have reliable statistics on the expected lifetime of a modern wind turbine. If we did there would not be so many broken-down wind turbines standing idle beside functioning ones

  27. @ William Connolley
    Have you heard of the word “joke”? My first reaction on reading Tim’s post was that he enjoyed the joke – you seem to assume that Tim, who is on record, many times, as wishing to reduce climate change by economic means is an insane denier. Some of us, while holding our noses when the name “Al Gore” is mentioned, believe that burning 1.8 trillion tons of coal in 40 years should have raised the average temperature – what is the point of a coal fire if it does not?

  28. @ John77

    The smelting of alluminium is a one-off process. You’re clutching at straws. Besides, how much smelting is needed to build a coal, gas or nuclear plant, and how much water does fracking require (enough to make fracking intermittent when it has to be halted due to drought, if you must know)? But if more and more turbines were built using renewable energy….

    “We don’t even have reliable statistics on the expected lifetime of a modern wind turbine. ”

    Why bother with the current generation? The technology improves on a yearly basis, and output can be increased almost twofold by simply changing the configuration to resemble the efficient swarming of a school of fish. Output also increases significantly if you add a cowling to the radius of the blades, and positioning offshore turbines further out to sea in deeper water produces up to a 30% increase in output. Who knows what next year might bring? Oh, less fossil fuels to extract, an increase in energy prices, and more and more resources needed to extract it, are pretty safe bets.

  29. @ J Bowers
    “The smelting of alluminium is a one-off process.” Which has to be done for every additional kilogramme put to use. Building each additional windfarms requires additional aluminium (you can only recycle each aluminium saucepan into a turbine blade once so you have smelt more aluminium for each new windmill. You’re the one that is clutching at straws with just about everything you say – arguing that the next generation will be more efficient to deny that the current generation generate more emissions than hydro is specious.

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