Not So Clean Energy?
While the precise tradeoff between the climate changes from wind farms versus that from carbon-based power systems is still a matter of contention, the fact that wind power isn't climate neutral leaps out of the simulations.The fact that wind energy may cause problems of its own should not end the move towards greener sources of energy. The paper shows that if wind energy were to account for 1/10th the world's energy, the temperature altering effects would be only 1/5th those of the carbon dioxide it would replace. Perhaps even more interesting, the report appears (to a layman) to indicate the climate alteration might help in the fight against global warming. Since the wind turbines would alter the global wind patterns, temperature forecasts for the 10% threshold indicate that the temperature would rise in temperate zones and decrease in the Arctic. Estimates indicate the temperature change could be anywhere from 1/3 to 2 degrees Celsius depending on the amount of wind energy produced.
While such an effect might make life less pleasant in Mexico and Texas, it would prevent the melting of the polar ice caps. In that regard, this result must be taken not as a negative, but as the strongest endorsement to date of wind power.