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posted by Cactus on Friday February 28 2014, @03:31AM   Printer-friendly
from the breaking-wind dept.

Fluffeh writes:

"At the recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford, spoke in a session on renewable energy.

Jacobson was invited to speak at the conference because he has developed a roadmap to convert the entire U.S. to renewable energy using primarily wind, water, and solar generated energy. His detailed analysis includes looking at costs and benefits on a per-state basis, including the obvious benefits to human health from reduced pollution. One of his slides showed a very unexpected benefit, however: taming of destructive hurricanes with the help of offshore wind farms.

Jakobson's study, co-authored by Cristina L. Archer and Willett Kempton, has been published in Nature Climate Change (full text available here)."

 
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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by frojack on Friday February 28 2014, @08:42PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 28 2014, @08:42PM (#8758) Journal

    But has it occurred to anyone that hurricanes might be necessary phenomenon in a stable system?

    Necessary or not, they've always been with us. Earth's topology pretty much just breeds them by its very nature.

    Personally, I doubt that a wind farm will make that much of a difference, because you would need to cover the earth with turbines to make a difference. Hurricanes are total atmosphere events, they are not limited to the surface. Soaking up a little wind here or there won't make much difference, especially when it is necessary to null angle the blades to keep the turbines from self destructing in very high winds.
    Note, that this has been studied, and the results indicate windfarms don't alter the local environment [smithsonianmag.com].

    But you do raise a point, that I think too many dismiss out of hand when the subject is their pet "save the world" theory.

    Namely, that you can harness the sun, wind, tides, rivers, and oceans, and have ZERO adverse effect. Yes, all these methods use energy that was arriving on earth in the form of sunlight anyway, and was going to "go to waste".

    But we don't know that, all we know is that our current levels of utilization aren't sufficient to make much of a difference. But when we put in the first dam to grind flour, we had no idea that bigger and bigger dams could deform the earth's crust [mst.edu], kill off salmon runs, etc.

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