Plastering the landscape with wind turbines for producing renewable energy may lead to regional drought.
Germany has so far installed over 30,000 wind turbines, which is about 1 every 11 sq. km. Plans are calling for doubling or even tripling wind power capacity. But this may be detrimental as new studies show that wind farms are altering local climates, and thus may be having an effect on global climate and contributing to regional droughts.
Northern Germany, for example, has a high concertation of of wind turbines and has seen an unusual dry spell since 2019. Fortunately, recent rains have alleviated these drought conditions. Alarmist climate scientists of course blamed rising CO2 emissions for the North German drought.
Yet, a recent paper by Wang et al (2023) shows that wind farms reduce regional soil moisture, thus confirming earlier model simulations of wind-park-made climate change, e.g. by Zhou et al (2013).
German online SciFi site here reports in depth on the topic. “Climate change: Wind farms cause drought and dryness – Evidence is mounting [New study]“.
The site presents one chart depicting the wind energy installation concentration over Germany:
The North Sea region has an extremely high concentration of installed wind energy capacity. Conversely, Southern Germany has a very low concentration of installed wind energy capacity. Image: Bundesamt für Naturschutz.
Next we look at a chart depicting the ground moisture across Germany (2019). The left side shows the moisture anomaly down to a soil depth of 25 cm while the right chart shows moisture anomaly down to depth of 1.8 meters.
The legend shows, the redder the area, the drier it is. Germany’s drought happens to be worse in the regions with lots of wind turbines. Scientists suspect these turbines may be playing a role here. Image: Drought Monitor Germany.
“Is it a coincidence that the soils are driest where most wind turbines are located?” SciFi wonders.
Mounting evidence of link between drought and wind parks
In the article, SciFi examines a number of published research papers on the subject and summarizes:
As a conclusion, it can be said that it is certain that wind farms change the local climate. Very large wind farms or many wind farms also have an effect on the global climate. The results are mostly based on simulation models, whereby the study by Zhou et al. (2013), which was able to draw on comparative data, confirms the results found in the simulation models. The new study by Wang et al. (2023), which we discussed today, confirms the model calculations using real data obtained from a Chinese wind farm and shows for the first time that soil moisture is reduced by wind farms not only downwind but also upwind.
Wind farms thus contribute significantly to the drying out of soils, and to drought.”