Global ‘Stilling’: Is Climate Change Slowing Down the Wind?

Posted: December 12, 2022 by oldbrew in climate, Energy, turbines, Uncertainty, wind
Tags: , , , ,

Windy enough today?

This recent Yale Environment360 article came into focus today when Sky News headlined with: Future of renewable energy in balance as UK suffers wind drought – with ‘global stilling’ to come. Ironically, climate theory has it that warming will happen and will reduce wind speeds over the decades ahead. According to one expert (says Yale), a 10 percent decline in wind speeds would actually result in “a 30 percent drop [in output], and that would be catastrophic.”
– – –
Last year, from summer into fall, much of Europe experienced what’s known as a “wind drought,” says Yale.

Wind speeds in many places slowed about 15 percent below the annual average, and in other places, the drop was even more pronounced.

It was one of the least windy periods in the United Kingdom in the past 60 years, and the effects on power generation were dramatic.

Wind farms produced 18 percent of the U.K.’s power in September of 2020, but in September of 2021, that percentage plummeted to only 2 percent. To make up the energy gap, the U.K. was forced to restart two mothballed coal plants.

The recent declines in surface winds over Europe renewed concerns about a “global terrestrial stilling” linked with climate change. From 1978 until 2010, research showed a worldwide stilling of winds, with speeds dropping 2.3 percent per decade.

In 2019, though, a group of researchers found that after 2010, global average wind speeds had actually increased — from 7 miles per hour to 7.4 miles per hour.

Despite those conflicting data, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forecasts slowing winds for the coming decades. By 2100, that body says, average annual wind speeds could drop by up to 10 percent.

“Why do we have wind at all on the planet?” asks Paul Williams, who studies wind as a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Reading in England. “It’s because of uneven temperatures — very cold at the poles and warm at the tropics. That temperature difference drives the winds, and that temperature difference is weakening. The Arctic is warming faster than the tropics.”

According to a recent study in Nature, the Arctic has, since 1979, been warming four times faster than the rest of the world. That’s much quicker than scientists had previously thought, and this warming could presage an even steeper decline in wind than anticipated.

Another factor possibly contributing to stilling is an increase in “surface roughness” — an uptick in the number and size of urban buildings, which act as a drag on winds.

Wind has been an overlooked element of climate change studies, which helps explain why the debate over these trends continues. The field is young, with only 70 years of data — temperature data, by contrast, goes back thousands of years — and wind systems are notoriously difficult to study and analyze. Substantial annual fluctuations make long-term trends difficult to detect, and conclusions are rarely firm.

Still, one recent pioneering study has shone light on the behavior of winds by examining where and how much dust settled on earth during the Pliocene era, when temperatures and carbon dioxide levels were similar to what they are today.

“By using the Pliocene as an analog for modern global warming, it seems likely that the movement of the westerlies” — the prevailing mid-latitude winds that blow from west to east — “towards the poles observed in the modern era will continue with further human-induced warming,” says Gisela Winckler, a researcher at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory and an author of the Pliocene dust paper.

Her models indicate “that the winds [will be] weaker, and stiller.”

Full article here.

  1. oldbrew says:

    Her models indicate “that the winds [will be] weaker, and stiller.”

    But we’re supposed to believe ‘climate change’ makes weather more extreme? 🤔

  2. […] Global ‘Stilling’: Is Climate Change Slowing Down the Wind? — Tallbloke’s Talkshop […]

  3. Jim says:

    Interesting. To make quiet homesteads, in the Midwest, we planted trees. Now, they are removing trees, to create windmills. Trees are prettier.

  4. oldbrew says:

    This 2 minute Sky News video (link below) spells it out – wind at 3% of total UK electricity generation this week and nuclear can’t get anywhere near to replacing gas, even by 2050.
    ‘We’re going to need something else if we’re going to keep the lights on’ says the presenter. — 😟 Really? Ditching net zero nonsense is the thing you’re looking for chum.

    UK ‘wind drought’ explained
    Even if the world reaches net zero soon after 2050, limiting the rise in temperature, winds will weaken significantly in the northern hemisphere.

    Monday 12 December 2022

  5. They wrote: Wind farms produced 18 percent of the U.K.’s power in September of 2020, but in September of 2021, that percentage plummeted to only 2 percent.

    Before they replaced reliable 24/7 fossil fuels with intermittent wind and solar, people used to know the wind did blow sometimes and sometimes it did not, people used to know the sun did shine sometimes in day and sometimes it did not. People used to know the sun did never shine at night.

    Huge subsidies came along that were going to make the sun shine all day every day and were going to make the wind always blow. They built the windmills and they built the solar panels and they closed the 24/7 reliable fossil fuel generating plants. Then the wind didn’t blow and the sun didn’t shine and they blamed climate change.
    The solution is easy for them, no problem for them, they now have trillions of dollars or pounds, of money to pay the Russians or Arab money, that is, money to pay the arabs. to to to fund building fifty many times as much so that 2% will be enough.

  6. The winds might weaken in the future, the winds might strengthen in the future, actually, we know from history and data, the winds will sometimes weaken, too weak to power the generation, and will sometimes strengthen. too much for the fragile windmills. This has created a huge market for fossil fuel powered backup generators and has created a really huge, profitable, market for stolen generators, and anchor posts and locks and chains, more jobs for honest and dishonest workers, of course the honest jobs are justified by dishonest climate alarmism.

  7. Is Climate Change Slowing Down the Wind?
    Every windmill gets energy from the wind, the wind then has less energy, the windmill down wind from each windmill will have less wind energy that it can extract from the wind. So yes, windmill farms will change local wind and rain and flooding patterns. There will be more flooding in some places and more drought in some places as a result of windmill farms, and of course, also from solar panel farms. You cannot cut natural vegetation and cover it with roads to build and service these things without causing disruption to local precipitation and flooding.

  8. aviary99 says:

    Just here to propose an interesting question. Does the drop in wind energy around the world equate to the energy taken out by windmills? Conservation of energy and all that stuff.

  9. nessimmersion says:

    I thought the winds on any planet were caused by planetary rotation, ditto for ocean currents?
    I’m sure we’ve all seen the spinning globe filled with dyed liquid at kids science exhibitions as a basic illustration.

    Good question above about the energy removed by bird blenders though.

  10. oldbrew says:

    aviary – the Yale explanation is that the pole-equator ‘temperature difference is weakening’ as the poles warm slightly and the equator stays roughly constant.

    On the other hand warmists like to claim storms are getting worse, i.e more frequent and/or intense, which requires stronger winds at least some of the time.

  11. oldbrew says:

    Venus rotates in 243 days, but its winds only take 4 days.

    In 2006 the average velocity of the planet’s cloudtops at low latitudes was about 180 miles per hour (80 m per second). But by 2012 it had risen to 250 mph (110 m/s) — a jump of more than a third in just 6 years.

  12. Chaswarnertoo says:

    Free Luna! nessimmersion!

  13. mort says:

    at least the severe weather that’s coming will be calm. so there’s that.

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