Climate Rorshach Test as NewsJune 10th, 2009
Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr.
Apparently an AP news article out today on how we don’t know if global warming is making the winds blow with less gusto is not a parody, despite all indications to the contrary. For benefit of readers I have condensed it as below:
Not so windy: Research suggests winds dying down
By SETH BORENSTEIN – 6 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — The wind, a favorite power source of the green energy movement, seems to be dying down across the United States. And the cause, ironically, may be global warming — the very problem wind power seeks to address.
The idea that winds may be slowing is still a speculative one, and scientists disagree whether that is happening. . .
Still, the study, which will be published in August in the peer-reviewed Journal of Geophysical Research, is preliminary. There are enough questions that even the authors say it’s too early to know if this is a real trend or not. But it raises a new side effect of global warming that hasn’t been looked into before. . .
Even so, that information doesn’t provide the definitive proof that science requires to connect reduced wind speeds to global warming, the authors said. In climate change science, there is a rigorous and specific method — which looks at all possible causes and charts their specific effects — to attribute an effect to global warming. That should be done eventually with wind, scientists say. . .
One of the problems Pryor acknowledges with her study is that over many years, changing conditions near wind-measuring devices can skew data. If trees grow or buildings are erected near wind gauges, that could reduce speed measurements.
Several outside experts mostly agree that there are signs that wind speed is decreasing and that global warming is the likely culprit.
The new study “demonstrates, rather conclusively in my mind, that average and peak wind speeds have decreased over the U.S. in recent decades,” said Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University.
A naysayer is Gavin Schmidt, a NASA climate scientist in New York who said the results conflict with climate models that show no effect from global warming. He also doubts that any decline in the winds that might be occurring has much of an effect on wind power.
Has global warming reduced windspeeds with potentious implictaions for wind power?
Well obviously we don’t know, but if you’d like to believe that it does, you can justify that belief by citing Michael Mann. And if you’d like to believe that it does not, you can justify that belief by citing Gavin Schmidt.
Climate science as Rorschach test, film at 11.