Wind farms are popping up all over the world in order to reduce the planet’s reliance on fossil fuels and reduce the effects of climate change, but it seems that climate change may be having a positive effect on the efficiency of those wind farms.
According to an international research team, led by Dr Zhenzhong Zeng, a professor at Princeton University, climate change could be behind a reason spike in wind speeds globally. That’s despite scientists having previously recorded a drop in wind speed since the 1970s.
The research team analysed data from 9,000 weather stations going back to 1970 and found that while speeds were on the decline for more than 30 years, they have since picked up again. In fact, there has been a rapid increase in wind speeds in the last 10 years.
The reason behind the increase isn’t exactly clear, although the scientists do hypothesise that it is due to climate change, noting that the world’s shifting oceanic circulation patterns may have played a role.
Of course many scientists have predicted that climate change could make the effects of natural disasters worse, and that includes wind-related events such as hurricanes and tornadoes. However, the full effects of climate change are as of yet unknown.
One thing is for sure, however, the increase in wind speeds is good news for wind farms around the world. The faster winds mean they’re able to produce more electricity and thus reducing our reliance on fossil fuels at a faster rate. In fact, the study noted that the faster than expected wind speeds could help increase the amount of renewable electricity generated by windfarms by more than a third to 3.3m kWh by 2024.
This, as well as advances in technology should put us well on the way to reducing our carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 and keeping the planet’s warming below 2°C.