Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics published a new paper by C. Wang and R.G. Prinn (MIT) called
Potential climatic impacts and reliability of very large-scale wind farms (full text PDF)They look at the effects of the wind turbines on the atmosphere. The wind speed is generally reduced which lowers both the horizontal and vertical heat exchange which is normally responsible for cooling of the surface. As a consequence, the wind turbines produce warming. How much is it?
MIT press release
A red kite, one of approximately 1 million birds that die in Spain every year because of collisions with wind turbines.
Their result is kind of impressive. Even if wind turbines produce only 10% of the electricity consumed in 2100, their effect will translate to 1 °C of warming locally but, because of the extended effect of the local changes, it will also add 0.15 °C to the global mean temperature.
The sign could be reverted - to cooling - if the wind turbines were built on the ocean. By the way, the paper also discusses some required backup of wind energy by reliable sources such as fossil fuels.
You can see that the temperature increase per one dollar obtained in this way is much greater than the increase linked the greenhouse effect coming from CO2 produced by the burning of fossil fuels that produces the same 1 dollar. Also, if you decided to cover all your electricity needs by the wind turbines, the resulting warming of the surface would approximately match the warming expected from the fossil fuels via the greenhouse effect.
And I am neglecting the millions of birds that are killed every year. At any rate, if the paper is right, this effect itself makes it nonsensical to switch to wind turbines because of global warming because one doesn't avoid any.
This is just another example showing how marginal the CO2 greenhouse effect is. When we start to investigate temperature changes that are as small as tenths of a degree per century, there are simply very many effects that contribute - and some of them may be quite unexpected.
Iron enrichment creates a poison
AFP and others inform about a work done by Ontario researchers. They looked what iron enrichment, a proposed method to encourage life in the ocean which would store CO2, does to the composition of the phytoplankton. They found out that Pseudo-nitzschia, a subspecies, would grow a lot. This creature produces domoic acid which is a neurotoxin.
So you should better be a bit careful with similar untested chemical experiments at the global scale. You know, unlike CO2, domoic acid causes amnesic shellfish poisoning to humans. Happy swimming and drinking in an ocean cooled by 0.01 °C.
RealClimate: brown is green, up is down
RealClimate has apologized to Orwell and used his ideas to redefine the directions and the colors:
RealClimate requires that its readers have a very unusual color resolution to see the picture above as brown. But I am sure that there are many people who will happily agree that the color is brown. They have to. RealClimate simplifies their job of believing by offering no data, no graphs, and no satellite maps at all: statements that all inconvenient papers have to be wrong are enough.
If you missed the story, a recent study has shown that in a sharp contrast with the IPCC statements, reductions in rainfall don't lead to a fast and observable decrease of the greening. The 2005 drought in the Amazon forest - see the right picture (from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite) for the "red" areas of reduced rainfall - actually led to an increase of photosynthesis activity - see the left picture (from NASA's Terra satellite) for the "green" areas.
Well, the Amazon forest may actually be more humid than the optimal level, so a reduction of precipitation may simply be helpful.
At the RealClimate, a Simon Lewis argues that it's not important what is ever observed. What's important is what the people like him believe to happen after many years and their certainty about the answer can't ever be questioned by any data or sensible theories. It follows that the IPCC did it correctly, they say.
Oh, really, is that so simple to prove things in science?