Business, Economics and Jobs

Wind farms warming local climate, says new study


Large wind farms can increase night time temperatures and alter local climates, new research shows.


Sean Gallup

Wind farms may warm the nearby climate, said a new study released Sunday.

Researchers have shown that large wind farms in Texas affect local temperatures, particularly at night, by pulling in hot air and pushing them into the ground. 

The BBC reported that researchers used data obtained from satellites to measure ground temperatures near on the wind farm sites in the last decade and found that they had indeed risen.

"We attribute this warming primarily to wind farms," the study said, reported Reuters.

"These changes, if spatially large enough, may have noticeable impacts on local to regional weather and climate."

The study was done in west Texas where wind farms have expanded from 111 in 2003 to 2358 in 2011 - the largest wind farm building state.

Liming Zhou, associate professor at the University of Albany in New York and head of the study said that the temperatures were more elevated at night when cool air near the ground is offset by the wind turbines.

Using wind to counter night and early morning frost is often used by farmers on their crops.

The study author said that this research should not be used to stop building wind farms, which provide clean energy, as the research is new and the warming may be beneficial, reported the Guardian.

The Washington Post said that the research had recently been used by conservative commentators and news outlets to attack green energy such as wind farms by saying that they cause global warming.

The news organization criticized the Fox News Nation's website for running the headline "New Research Shows Wind Farms Cause Global Warming," which leads readers to believe that wind farms are a factor in climate change.

The author of the study himself has also complained in an email to Media Matters that the headlines had misquoted and misunderstood his research.

The study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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Tagged: United States.