Wind farms and climate

Chien Wang and Ronald Prinn, Potential climatic impacts and reliability of very large-scale wind farms, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 10, 2053–2061

In order to generate a substantial amount of the energy required globally, wind farms would need to be installed on a vast scale. The authors use the NCAR-based Community Climate System Model to examine the climate impacts of operating 13 million land-based turbines that would provide 4.4 terawatts of energy, or about 10% of the projected global demand for 2100. As they generate power, the turbines reduce vertical mixing in the atmosphere. Thus, modeled surface temperatures warm by more than 1.0°C (1.8°F) in many areas with turbines (see map), or about 0.15°C (0.27°F) when averaged globally.  A compensating cooling occurs above the planetary boundary layer due to the reduced mixing.

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY