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Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/04/2013 8:56 AM

Ok, sounds crazy right?

But, from a conservation-of-rotational-inertia point of view, what effect does taking kinetic energy out of the air have on the speed of the rotation of the Earth?

I know that earthquakes and eruptions can ring the Earth like a bell and change the rate that we wobble around the axis. But...

What if we to build enough wind farms to power the world's needs and then run them for a few hundred years; does anyone think there would be a measurable effect then?

-A-

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#143
In reply to #142
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Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/07/2013 11:56 AM

This could be a Break Room topic.

"Classification of, and the realities of, Miracle Generation in today's world."

Gotta catch a plane now.

"Not with that tongue". From "THE MUPPET MOVIE".

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#52

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 6:28 AM

There are several factors in considering the speed of the Earth's rotation that have not been addressed as yet. Cosmologists do consider the issue of rotational speed of orbiting bodies, with our Moon being an important example. Note that the Moon keeps one face always facing the Earth, which has the closest and strongest gravitational field in its surroundings. We can say that its rotation relative to the Earth is zero. This comes from a drag caused by loss of rotational energy from the distortion in the Moon's shape caused by differential gravitational forces on the parts of the Moon which have different distances to the Earth. Even though this is not a large amount of energy, it has been going on a long time. The Earth has a similar process occurring From the Moon's gravitational field and from the Sun's gravitational field. The Earth, however, is much more plastic in it's shape, having a gaseous atmosphere, a liquid covering of part of it's solid surface, and a liquid molten core. All of these components are capable of drawing energy from the rotation of the earth, and being more plastic, the drain is greater than if the Earth were completely solid. There is also the possibility of drawing energy from the distance between the Moon and the Earth, with this energy loss having the effect of speeding the Moon's revolution around the Earth,and thereby increasing the combined rotational momentum of the Earth/Moon system.

The issue of how wind farms affect the the rotational speed of the Earth brings up the question, What is the speed of the Earth? The atmosphere is part of the Earth, but the thread seems to be taking the surface solid angular velocity as the Earth's speed. Whereas the energy in the Earth's surface may vary from sunspots, global warming, change in albedo of ice, vegetation, etc., the momentum should be preserved, so that the speed should stay the same, with caveats as above. Of course, the wind is gaseous, so the average molecular weight is around 29, and the oceans around 19, so that with global warming putting more water into the air, the additional rain will probably transfer more rotational velocity than all the wind turbines humans can produce so my best guess is, gee, I don't know.

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#56
In reply to #52

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 7:44 AM

'....There is also the possibility of drawing energy from the distance between the Moon and the Earth, with this energy loss having the effect of speeding the Moon's revolution around the Earth,and thereby increasing the combined rotational momentum of the Earth/Moon system.....'

.

This explanation strikes me as odd (at best). If energy were being drawn 'from the distance between the Moon and the Earth' then the distance would be decreasing because closer together would be a lower energy state......but....increasing the velocity of the Moon would increase the distance from the Earth.

.

The transfer occurs by slowing the rate at which the Earth spins and increasing the speed (and therefor distance from Earth) of the Moon. The mechanism is via the lag of the tides.

.

So the 'rotational momentum of the Earth/Moon system' isn't being increased in this way. Momentum is just being transferred from the Earth portion of the system to the Moon portion of the system.

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#62
In reply to #56

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 9:19 AM

You are correct that removing energy 'from the distance between the Moon and the Earth' would result in decreasing the distance. I think you should reconsider whether having the moon in closer orbit would not result in a higher velocity. The greater gravitational force of being nearer to the Earth is balanced by a larger acceleration toward the Earth (at right angles to the direction of motion). This acceleration increases the velocity. Check the speed of close to the Earth satellites versus the geosynchronous orbit.

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#64
In reply to #62

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 9:34 AM

I did not state that having the moon in closer orbit could not result in a higher velocity.

What I said was that closer together is a lower energy state.... specifically referring to gravitational potential energy, in direct reference to your comment:

'...There is also the possibility of drawing energy from the distance between the Moon and the Earth,...'

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#109
In reply to #52

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/06/2013 7:47 AM

Evaporation affects the Earth's rotation rate! Good point - drain the bath and the Earth speeds up. Hmmmm.....

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#55

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 7:38 AM

The best answer is "NO"....

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#72
In reply to #55

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 10:53 AM

So,

Are you tri-lingual?

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#83
In reply to #72

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 4:46 PM

No, I am not tri-lingual.

I have 4 languages and a bit of a fifth, Latin. What does that make me????

English, French, Portuguese and German are the first 4.

Why do you want to know?

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#87
In reply to #83

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 5:27 PM

Because I can only make a fool of myself in one language.

You have me at a disadvantage.

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#111
In reply to #87

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/06/2013 7:49 AM

LOL!!!

Seriously, it is/was very sad that many immigrants to the USA (I assume here that you live in the USA!), PURPOSELY did not teach their children the language of their home countries....it was considered "bad form". Surprisingly, it appears to have been fairly general.....

Over the years, I have known many Americans who do not speak the language of their forbears...

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#57

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 8:05 AM

Here is another way to look at it:

.

-If you subscribe to the idea that CO2 emissions cause temperatures to increase ....

.

-...and you further believe that wind power effectively reduces CO2 emissions that would otherwise occur....

.

-...and you are of the school of thought that believes small increases in temperature will cause more snow to fall and build up on Antarctica (due to increased moisture being brought in on initially warmer winds)...

.

...Then:

.

The use of windmills for power could result in longer days than if power were instead produced by burning fossil fuels.

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#59

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 9:01 AM

LOL

Mankind isn't that significant to how the Earth operates.

The Universe isn't some fragile thing that is easily disrupted. It was created to sustain mankind and all that is in the Universe.

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#61
In reply to #59

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 9:17 AM

LOL!

.

The question wasn't about size or significance of the effect (or even the plausibility of voyeur fetishist creator myths actually being true). It was about whether or not an effect exists/would exist.

.

I can't see anywhere in this threat where anyone claimed that the Universe is fragile.

.

BTW if the Universe was 'created to sustain mankind' it certainly was an inefficient use of space.

In the observable universe, the amount that could support human life is nearly infinitesimally small compared to what is uninhabitable.

We have been making great strides that allow us to enter what what previously uninhabitable.....but that effort is something that could easily be considered 'significant'.

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#74
In reply to #61

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 11:19 AM

WOW! I am impressed with the dialogue and my learning curve is steepening by the second.

"The Universe isn't some fragile thing that is easily disrupted. It was created to sustain mankind and all that is in the Universe." Post 59

"In the observable universe, the amount that could support human life is nearly infinitesimally small compared to what is uninhabitable."

Based on these two excellent responses the radical environmental movement appears to be be very biased and totally unfounded.

Yet somehow me thinks the truth lies somewhere in the center of our predisposed opinions if properly seasoned with the laws of physics and attainable scientific field DATA.

If only we could "cut to the chase, resolve our differences of opinion, and eliminate the "real" definable risks to our world before we destroy it."

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#77
In reply to #74

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 12:21 PM

"about a mile from God's country" Is that New Mexico????

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#97
In reply to #74

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 8:08 PM

'...Yet somehow me thinks the truth lies somewhere in the center of our predisposed opinions if properly seasoned with the laws of physics and attainable scientific field DATA....'

.

Do you find something untruthful, or in disagreement with the laws of physics and attainable scientific data in the statement you quoted?

.

"In the observable universe, the amount that could support human life is nearly infinitesimally small compared to what is uninhabitable."

.

I'll be happy to address any uncertainty you might have as to the validity of the statement if you will be specific about which portion is giving you problems.

.

On the whole I think the statement is very different from the other statement you quoted along with it.

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#65

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 9:36 AM

I vote with the urban myth crowd on this one. Energy is gained by solar input, energy is dissipated, and I do not believe it really matters how when integrated over the whole globe. There is a shadow effect in large wind farms, that should be considered strongly when designing these in order to achieve the highest output from each expenditure of capital and materials and manpower. To my mind, that sounds a bit more like engineering, and less like a doubtful disputation.

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#67
In reply to #65

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 9:38 AM

What is a 'doubtful disputation'?

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#84
In reply to #67

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 4:52 PM

I hotly contested argument over something neither participant has control over is one example of a doubtful disputation. Another example is where two participants in an argument neither engage in the use of facts or stick to the topic.

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#89
In reply to #84

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 5:34 PM

You've just described almost every thread here.

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#68

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 10:17 AM

Wait a minute... What if we took this a step further!

WHAT IF we explode a nuclear bomb in the center of a hurricane, would the opposing forces (Pressures) cancel out, or would the circulation reverse?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Wow, maybe we should try it and see...

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#76
In reply to #68

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 12:14 PM

STEP AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD. REENGAGE BRAIN.

Now, consider the facts.

It will take years to rebuild in Oklahoma. Add nuclear contamination to the mix and it becomes hundreds of years, and thousands of lost lives to boot.

I'll take my chances with mother nature, thanks.

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#79
In reply to #76

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 1:16 PM

Lyn,

Can you say... JOKE!

I know it was a bit, okay, a lot off base, but I thought it would have been read as it was intended. That is why I listed it as "Off-topic"...

I really did not think ANYONE would take this comment SERIOUSLY! Wrong...

That is why it was posted by my associate...

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#80
In reply to #79

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 1:46 PM

Sorry. I have a literal brain. I figured it was a joke, thus the "step away" comment.

The second half was added, just in case.

Cheers.

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#81
In reply to #80

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 1:54 PM

No Harm.. No Foul!

Now I can go back to sleep and have HAPPY dreams...

Life is too short to be taken seriously!

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#98
In reply to #76

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 8:35 PM

'...It will take years to rebuild in Oklahoma. Add nuclear contamination to the mix and it becomes hundreds of years, and thousands of lost lives to boot....'

.

.

Hundreds of years? It has only been 0.68 hundred years since 1945 and Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been rebuilt for quite a while.

.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that specific use for a nuclear weapon.

.

BTW, the thing that hit Oklahoma City is typically referred to as a tornado, which is not the same as the thing Who Wants 2 Know commented about; a hurricane.

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#69

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 10:29 AM

I think it's our growing population creating too much drag.

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#112
In reply to #69

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/06/2013 7:59 AM

What - all the hot air, perhaps?

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#120
In reply to #112

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/06/2013 10:44 AM

Well maybe if we all faced east and started walking at the same time, we can make the sun rise in the west.

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#70

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 10:44 AM

whats really going to happen, if i may dumb this down, is that the wind farms are actually going to slow the wind down thus causing our weather patterns to change and soon my house in farm country Ohio will be a desert. which, I am ok with... more places to go off roading ;)

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#73

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 11:18 AM

The earth, as far as weather and climate go, is pretty much a closed system. It can be changed by anything that intrudes on that closed system such as big asteroid collisions. The sun is the main driver of the weather/climate system and it is the only other off planet source that makes a difference. The biggest earthly source of change is volcanoes. All other on earth changes by men or cows are paltry. I spent 4 years studying meteorology in the 60's. Nothing has changed since. (Except the weather!)

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#75
In reply to #73

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 12:01 PM

that blows a hole in my theory, lol

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#95
In reply to #73

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 7:58 PM

Your comment doesn't make sense:

.

'...The earth, as far as weather and climate go, is pretty much a closed system....'

.

As you state; the Sun is the main driver of weather on Earth. I'm assuming you don't consider the Sun to be part of the Earth, in which case it becomes obvious that 'as far as weather and climate go', it is NOT reasonable to call the Earth 'pretty much a closed system'.

.

You also state that the Sun 'is the only other off planet source that makes a difference' (other than a big asteroid collision).

You have completely neglected the very significant effects on weather and climate due to tidal effects of the moon.

.

.

I'm curious about your study of meteorology in the 60s....I don't think Al Roker was old enough to be in meteorology in the 60's...did you study Dick Goddard?

Is there any particular benefit to studying meteorology in the 60's over other eras?

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#96
In reply to #95

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 8:06 PM

thanks...

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#105
In reply to #95

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/06/2013 7:18 AM

The advantage in knowing several languages and have experience with translation is that this phrase

..The earth, as far as weather and climate go, is pretty much a closed system....'

can be read as

..The earth, as far as weather and climate go, is not a closed system....' .

The "pretty much" is an indicator that there is not an expectation that the meaning content of the statement will be taken rigorously because of the obvious included error, and we can stop drinking the fore-run of the moonshine, and start in on the good stuff. I will post this anonymously since I am embarrassed at being an a88 (and from Ohio).

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#121
In reply to #105

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/06/2013 6:20 PM

'....

..The earth, as far as weather and climate go, is pretty much a closed system....'

can be read as

..The earth, as far as weather and climate go, is not a closed system....'

....'

.

Well of course it can. But the ability to read it as such isn't the exclusive domain of those of us who know more than one language and have experience in translation....

.

The ability to read it as such (and openly admit it) has more to do with the remaining freedoms of the country in which you live. The freedom to be wrong and expressive about it is definitely one of the more tenacious freedoms here in the US.

.

If however, you choose to waive your right to err, and stick with standard translation, 'Pretty much' is not synonymous with 'not'.

.

'Pretty much' is synonymous with 'mostly', 'approximately', 'for the most part', 'nearly completely' and 'to a significant degree'.

.

The meaning of 'pretty much' is different than 'not'. The difference is not subtle.

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#82

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 4:35 PM

I'll just leave this here....

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#85

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 5:00 PM

every movement we make on earth is going to effect the rotational spin, but by how much?

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#86
In reply to #85

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 5:04 PM

Are you sure about that? Do you have evidence? Or is that just theory or speculation?

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#92
In reply to #86

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/05/2013 6:23 PM

the Earth's rotational energy is around 10^29 Joules, Even a nuclear bomb will not cause any noticeable change, but the fact is even it is 1 trillionth of a second it is still a change.

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#110

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/06/2013 7:48 AM

Even if the answer were never to become clear, look at the number of responses so far. What a fabulous question!

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#115

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/06/2013 9:10 AM

Fear not...

This post will outlive the Earth...

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#144

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/07/2013 11:02 PM

Interesting one. Wind farms do affect the sea coast climate and it is known factor now. If you disturb the existing an equilibrium then it naturally sets to a new equilibrium. I think wind is more affected by formation and destruction of forests, forest fire and perhaps consumption of energy and chemicals. All wind farms put together do not equal even to resistance by trees even in small forest. I think, it is not significant one to cause measurable changes in earth motion and you need torque to change the motion. Single force can't disturb the motion of the rotating body.

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#145

Re: Do Wind Farms Slow the Earth?

06/17/2013 10:58 AM

I came back from a weekend trip to Canada yesterday and we drove through several wind farms along the way.

Disturbing news to report. The Earth rotates from west to east and the wind direction was also from the west going east at all the farms we saw.

The conclusion from first hand visual confirmation of multiple sites would be that they are working to speed up the earth being that the wind they are capturing is trying to push the Earth they are anchored to in an easterly direction!

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