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Climate Effects of Alternative Energy Farms

09/08/2018 11:23 AM

Here is something unexpected:

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/361/6406/1019

Climate model shows large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara increase rain and vegetation

Note: the scale of installation in the model is extreme - enough to generate more than the world's current energy consumption - at the same time being far from consumers, so same efficiency problem as the present Chinese solar farms.

What do you think? Could the design of alternative power 'farms' also affect local climates?

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Guru

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#1

Re: Climate effects of alternative energy farms

09/08/2018 1:19 PM

Sure it could be done....it happens regularly...

..."The Sahara has long been subject to periodic bouts of humidity and aridity. These fluctuations are caused by slight wobbles in the tilt of the Earth’s orbital axis, which in turn changes the angle at which solar radiation penetrates the atmosphere. At repeated intervals throughout Earth’s history, there’s been more energy pouring in from the sun during the West African monsoon season, and during those times—known as African Humid Periods—much more rain comes down over north Africa."...

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/what-really-turned-sahara-desert-green-oasis-wasteland-180962668/

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#2

Re: Climate effects of alternative energy farms

09/08/2018 2:02 PM

One thing I found interesting in the article, the desirable climate modification was only achieved in the model when solar panels with lower efficiency (15%) were used. Apparently the higher efficiency panels (45%) have themselves a higher albedo (than the low efficiency ones) so with more efficient panels they only got negligible effects on climate.

An interesting take away, the higher efficiency panels with high albedo should have a cooling effect if installed in city roofs for example, vs lower efficiency panels which would tend to increase temperatures in the 'heat island'.

Those facts, to my mind, tend to mitigate against the project of making energy so far from densely populated markets.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Climate effects of alternative energy farms

09/08/2018 3:53 PM

Apparently the higher efficiency panels (45%) have themselves a higher albedo (than the low efficiency ones) so with more efficient panels they only got negligible effects on climate.

The albedo of a solar panel is essentially its efficiency. If the efficiency is 15%, 15% of the energy falling on it is converted to useful energy (electricity) and the remaining 85% is converted to heat. An albedo of 15% is about the same as common asphalt roof shingles. So if you put these panels on a dark-colored roof, there would be no change in albedo. Installing a higher efficiency panel would increase the albedo.

If your roof were painted white, any solar panels would reduce the albedo and result in a heating effect.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/solar-at-home/the-albedo-effect/

Painting roofs white in cities and other measures to increase the average albedo of the earth's surface could be a cost-effective way to have significant effects on climate.

https://e360.yale.edu/features/urban-heat-can-white-roofs-help-cool-the-worlds-warming-cities

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Climate effects of alternative energy farms

09/08/2018 5:27 PM

...and not just roofs...

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544211007274

We should have white pavement with white tires....

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Climate effects of alternative energy farms

09/08/2018 6:52 PM

For the high albedo future, you'll be wanting to stop burning coal, of course.

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#7
In reply to #4

Re: Climate effects of alternative energy farms

09/08/2018 7:12 PM

Then you couldn't leave any black marks on the pavement with your Mustang.

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#8
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Re: Climate effects of alternative energy farms

09/08/2018 7:53 PM

Pretty sure I could burn that white paint off in a spectacular white smoking burnout....

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#15
In reply to #8

Re: Climate effects of alternative energy farms

09/10/2018 11:36 AM

Add some bleach

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Climate effects of alternative energy farms

09/08/2018 6:50 PM

Climatic effects of surface albedo geoengineering

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2011JD016281

Desert geoengineering could significantly reduce the intensity of Indian and African monsoons, affecting climate on a large-regional scale,

but, "None of the schemes studied reverse the climate changes associated with a doubling of CO2, with desert geoengineering profoundly altering the climate and with urban and cropland geoengineering providing only some regional amelioration at most."

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#9
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Re: Climate effects of alternative energy farms

09/08/2018 8:57 PM

..."Another albedo-related effect on the climate is from black carbon particles. The size of this effect is difficult to quantify: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that the global mean radiative forcing for black carbon aerosols from fossil fuels is +0.2 W m−2, with a range +0.1 to +0.4 W m−2.[43] Black carbon is a bigger cause of the melting of the polar ice cap in the Arctic than carbon dioxide due to its effect on the albedo.[44] "....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albedo#Albedo%E2%80%93temperature_feedback

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Climate effects of alternative energy farms

09/09/2018 6:38 PM

I suggest the IPCC finance installation of the massive solar panel farm; that would provide some interesting data.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Climate effects of alternative energy farms

09/09/2018 8:37 PM

..."The IPCC does not carry out its own original research, nor does it do the work of monitoring climate or related phenomena itself. The IPCC bases its assessment on the published literature, which includes peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed sources.[7]

Thousands of scientists and other experts contribute (on a voluntary basis, without payment from the IPCC)[8] to writing and reviewing reports, which are then reviewed by governments. IPCC reports contain a "Summary for Policymakers", which is subject to line-by-line approval by delegates from all participating governments. Typically this involves the governments of more than 120 countries.[9]

The IPCC provides an internationally accepted authority on climate change,[10] producing reports which have the agreement of leading climate scientists and the consensus of participating governments. The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was shared, in equal parts, between the IPCC and Al Gore.[11] "...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intergovernmental_Panel_on_Climate_Change

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#14
In reply to #10

Re: Climate effects of alternative energy farms

09/10/2018 1:05 AM

Dr. Harry, the IPCC has got no money to finance this. They are more the instrument to extract the money from States and countries and paid for, in the end, from taxes from anyone who pays them.

We also are not interested in this data. We do not accept 2 degrees temperature rise for our climate now, why would we install something that does that seemingly on purpose, but all of a sudden it is ok???

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#18
In reply to #10

Re: Climate effects of alternative energy farms

09/15/2018 3:18 PM

They have no money. However, more than a few members of this forum would happily volunteer US taxpayer dollars to see it happen.

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#12

Re: Climate Effects of Alternative Energy Farms

09/09/2018 10:31 PM

There is a couple of things odd in this scientific work:

  1. Why would anyone try to produce all energy of the world in the Sahara? So this model obviously is more science fiction
  2. How do they think the "more precipitation" will impact on the micro climate? Me thinks there is a logical fallacy in this alone. If one thinks of dry hot climate and moist temperate climate, which one will it be?
  3. Do they really think they can alter the climate with wind power and solar? Will they drive the wind turbines with solar power to generate the wind or will they change the climate first and then have more wind to change the climate? The must have modeled the turbines in driving mode.
  4. If one is to take solar and wind to power desalination plants, and given said plants can live with irregular power supply, then this is the best option to drive greening and experience a much faster impact on the local climate.

Personally I find the study almost laughable and its a shame that we are spending money on this type of research. The "ifs" and "coulds" do not account for the oversight, that the "more precipitation" will be coming out of clouds to the detriment of the solar power generation.

This is an interesting video, which explains in detail how the Sahara might have got a be desert in the first place.

Its a refreshing insight into collaborative science.

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Climate Effects of Alternative Energy Farms

09/09/2018 11:37 PM

Oh, one more thing: Who is the judge on what change to the climate is acceptable and what not?

The irony is that we think we need to change our power production to NOT change the climate, and here we have a study that promises us a climate change, IF we use solar and wind power.

So we willingly change our climate there, but we do want to preserve it on the other end?

Anyone notices that the say the first status when implementing the solar farms is an increase of 2 degrees Celsius? Whoa there goes the climate goals and there goes the story. Whatever they fed into the model it is tuned to a tone!

But sorry, two degrees is just not it. It would be "unprecedented" and catastrophic.

We need reject the idea instantly as insane and climate destructive!

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#16

Re: Climate Effects of Alternative Energy Farms

09/10/2018 3:01 PM

And the worn forgives the blade of the farmers plow

-- Japanese proverb

..I think this applies in most but not all cases.

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#17

Re: Climate Effects of Alternative Energy Farms

09/12/2018 10:49 AM

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