Study: Warming won't lessen wind energy

May 2, 2011 at 6:19 PM
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind., May 2 (UPI) -- Climate models of wind patterns suggest U.S. wind energy production over the next 30-50 years will be largely unaffected by global warming, researchers say.

Indiana University scientists in Bloomington have completed the first analysis of long-term stability of wind patterns in America's lower 48 states, an IU release reported Monday.

"The greatest consistencies in wind density we found were over the Great Plains, which are already being used to harness wind, and over the Great Lakes, which the U.S. and Canada are looking at right now," Sara Pryor, a professor of atmospheric science, said.

"Areas where the [warming] model predicts decreases in wind density are quite limited, and many of the areas where wind density is predicted to decrease are off limits for wind farms anyway."

Scientists have long pondered whether a warmer atmosphere might lead to decreases in wind density or changes in wind patterns.

"We decided it was time someone did a thorough analysis of long-term patterns in wind density," researcher Rebecca Barthelmie said.

"There have been questions about the stability of wind energy over the long term. So we are focusing on providing the best science available to help decision makers."

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