Wind turbine, solar cell, microclimate

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by bwilson4web, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    Source: Climate model shows large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara increase rain and vegetation | Science

    Abstract
    Wind and solar farms offer a major pathway to clean, renewable energies. However, these farms would significantly change land surface properties, and, if sufficiently large, the farms may lead to unintended climate consequences. In this study, we used a climate model with dynamic vegetation to show that large-scale installations of wind and solar farms covering the Sahara lead to a local temperature increase and more than a twofold precipitation increase, especially in the Sahel, through increased surface friction and reduced albedo. The resulting increase in vegetation further enhances precipitation, creating a positive albedo–precipitation–vegetation feedback that contributes ~80% of the precipitation increase for wind farms. This local enhancement is scale dependent and is particular to the Sahara, with small impacts in other deserts

    Still reading but this sounds interesting.

    Bob Wilson
     
  2. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    There are photos out there of the large windmills causing vapor formation as they mix warm, moist air layers with cooler ones.
     
  3. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Good on these folks for using a climate model to detect a previously unrecognized effect of large-scale wind and solar. That's how you get published in Science :)

    Idea of energy collection in Sahara/Sahel has been kicking around for a long time. Very different outcomes for people, depending on whether it is more consumed in Africa or sold to Europe.

    Two other thoughts on this region. It famously supplies dust that fertilizes Atlantic Ocean and lands further west. Model resolution here may be adequate to explore changes in that.

    Region also famously sheds atmospheric vortices, some of which develop into Atlantic hurricanes. I suppose a finer-grained model would be required to explore changes in that.
     
  4. davids45

    davids45 Active Member

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    G'day,
    "And now for something completely different".....

    Has any spin-doctor for the coal industry ever claimed the long-term benefit of their contributed extra carbon dioxide in our atmosphere of creating greater turbulence, making it more windy, so helping the wind-power industry to be more effective for generations to come (of people, not windmills)?
    Is wind-temperature of any effect in the efficiency of wind-turbines?
    And more wind blowing more Sahara dust into the Atlantic Ocean as an iron source for more carbon-capturing bio-growth therein (vaguely self-regulating the atmosphere CO2 - pity about the fish)? Does the higher ocean acidity help with such iron availability?

    David S.
    (resident of probably the highest per-capita coal-using country, and coal-selling too, to add to the embarrassment :oops: ).
     
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  5. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Like is for that south-up map avatar.

    "creating greater turbulence" Not to my knowledge. Li et al.'s model (cited @1) could be applied to any chosen dense array of coal combustion. Or more generally, thermal power plants. Water vapor they inject into atmosphere is another factor to add.

    "vaguely self-regulating the atmosphere CO2) I'd rather say slowly there. Marine biological pump, and terrestrial mineral carbonation are not vague. They dominate long-term CO2 sinks on earth. But they don't accelerate rapidly enough to match 10 petagrams/year of new net C injected to atmosphere. Plant growth has quicker response, but also a cap in that it is not currently seen as in human best interest to have more forested area where wood accumulates.

    "pity about the fish". Commercial fish harvesting has much more effect on fish than -0.1 pH unit. Pretty sure about that one.

    "Does the higher ocean acidity help with such iron availability?" Would be happy to trot out related graphs, but short answer is not very much at all. Ocean was pH 8.2, now 8.1, with 8.0 not unlikely in future. This is not an exciting range for iron dissolution in water.
     
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