Study Finds Solar Power Causes ‘Climate Change’, Too

Well, this is a sucker punch to the groin

(Washington Post) Large solar arrays could have some surprising side effects, according to a new study, including causing changes in the local climate.

On a global scale, these changes will be minor compared to what would happen if humans continue to burn fossil fuel for energy instead, but are still worth watching, scientists say.

Figuring out how renewable energy sources will affect their local landscapes is an increasingly relevant challenge for scientists, as more and more nations are vowing to slash their carbon outputs and switch to alternatives, such as solar and wind energy. Previous studies have shown that both solar arrays and wind farms have the potential to cause regional changes in temperature and precipitation by altering the amount of solar radiation absorbed by the Earth or disrupting local airflow patterns.

With this in mind, Aixue Hu, a climate change research scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, conducted a study, published Monday in Nature Climate Change, that attempted to predict the climatic effects of solar arrays.

What this is about is land use and its effects on the local climate, something we’ve known about for a long time. Mankind has made many, many changes to the land, which changes the way the weather acts locally. Cut down a forest? The glaciers on Mt. Kilimanjaro melt away. Replant the trees? They regrow. Replace woodlands with homes and shopping centers? The wind patterns change. Which can change precipitation.  The amount of solar radiation changes within the area. It can also make an area warmer than it would normally be, the Urban Heat Island Effect.

Rather than excerpting long paragraphs, I’d recommend reading the rest of the article. In some of the simulations, the panels produced cooling, mostly in non-urban environments. In others, warming, typically in urban environments. The article ends thusly

In the meantime, this study reinforces the idea that a transition to renewable energy is imperative to protecting Earth’s climate future. While the transition won’t be without its own effects, the authors note that the alternative — a world in which fossil fuel burning is allowed to continue unabated — would be far worse.

Of course the study ends that way. If they don’t throw the Danger From Hotcoldwetdry in as a primary study objective, no one would care. Look, moving towards a non-fossil fueled economy would be a good thing, IMO. Let’s do it in a responsible manner, with sources that aren’t going to cause the very problems that fossil fuels supposedly cause, in terms of AGW, and do cause, in terms of real environmental damage.

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3 Responses to “Study Finds Solar Power Causes ‘Climate Change’, Too”

  1. john says:

    Glad to see you are no longer mocking renewables

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