Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Climate Change

More Stormy Winds for Future Eaarth?


It appears to have been getting windier over the past two decades, according to a Swinburne University of Technology team led by Ian Young whose research appeared Friday in the journal Science. Young has authored more than 100 papers.

National Geographic reports that the analysis, the first to look at the last 20 years of wind speeds across the entire planet, indicated that on average winds over the oceans have picked up 5%, and that the extremely strong winds caused by storms have increased by 10%.

If the wind increase keeps up, it might be good news for off-shore wind energy (up to a point), but warns Young, a long time Dean of Engineering at Swinburne, that could also impact “engineering design of coastal and offshore structures, coastal erosion, and marine ecosystems.”

To gather this data, the team assembled global measurements dating back to 1985 from satellites that used radar altimeters, which work similarly to bats’ echolocation, or natural radar.

The orbiting satellites shoot radio waves at Earth and listen for the echoes that bounce back into space. When winds are blowing hard, the radar echoes are fainter, giving a measure of how strong the wind is blowing over the oceans.

The results would seem to run counter to a widely quoted 2009 study from Eugene Takle (Iowa State) that found that US winds have slowed over thirty years, at least at 30 feet, the height of airport monitors, by 15 to 30 percent. But Takle’s study looked just at the US, however, and found that most of the stilling found in the 2009 study came from East of the Mississippi. (Mountain top removal slows wind speeds and the Appalachias are East of the Mississippi).

By contrast, Young’s is the first study to tabulate wind speeds worldwide.

“If this is related to global warming—and this is speculation—it indicates that either the intensity of storms is increasing or the frequency of storms is increasing,” said Young.

Bill McKibben is the author of Eaarth – making a life on a tough new planet. Because we are changing the planet so much, McKibben suggests that we need a new name for it.

Susan Kraemer @Twitter

 

Advertisement
 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.

Comments

You May Also Like

Climate Change

Bill McKibben says reality is what we say it is and now is the time to get real.

Policy & Politics

Joe Manchin has seen the light and promised to mend his ways. Wait! Is that the sound of a dollar bill?

Buildings

Could heat pumps help defeat Putin? Bill McKibben thinks so.

Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels make the Earth unfit for human habitation. So why don't we stop using them?

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.