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Ladywriter

Winds weaker in U.S.? Study creates a storm

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WASHINGTON - The wind, a favorite power source of the green energy movement, might be dying down across the United States. And global warming — the very problem wind power seeks to address — could be behind that.The idea that winds may be slowing is still a speculative one, and scientists disagree whether that is happening. But a first-of-its-kind study suggests that average and peak wind speeds have been noticeably slowing since 1973, especially in the Midwest and the East.

"It's a very large effect," said study co-author Eugene Takle, a professor of atmospheric science at Iowa State University. In some places in the Midwest, the trend shows a 10 percent drop or more over a decade. That adds up when the average wind speed in the region is about 10 to 12 miles per hour.

There's been a jump in the number of low or no wind days in the Midwest, said the study's lead author, Sara Pryor, an atmospheric scientist at Indiana University.

Wind measurements plotted out on U.S. maps by Pryor show wind speeds falling mostly along and east of the Mississippi River. Some areas that are banking on wind power, such as west Texas and parts of the Northern Plains, do not show winds slowing nearly as much. Yet, states such as Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Kansas, Virginia, Louisiana, Georgia, northern Maine and western Montana show some of the biggest drop in wind speeds.

"The stations bordering the Great Lakes do seem to have experienced the greatest changes," Pryor said Tuesday. That's probably because there's less ice on the lakes and wind speeds faster across ice than it does over water, she said.

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.

:gloomstress: the great lakes regions are like lil climate petri dishes. the gl effect our weather a lot lot. Not just wind but precipitation. It was rare to have just regular snowfall last winter it was one high precip event after another. It then stayed too cold for any melting to happen. Teh burried
In global warming, the poles warm more and faster than the rest of the globe, and temperature records, especially in the Arctic, show this. That means the temperature difference between the poles and the equator shrinks and with it the difference in air pressure in the two regions. Differences in barometric pressure are a main driver in strong winds. Lower pressure difference means less wind.

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                                               Look at the flowers

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:bleedout: This sucks... Looks like polluters can now have a new goal on destroying the environment.


"Cool. I always knew Atheists would someday save The World."

- Fantomex

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