For a moment I thought the BBC was tackling a very important question:
Most taxpayers want to know whether wind farms have an impact on our global climate. But the BBC are looking at whether wind farms cause warming on the square kilometer below them. A question hot on the lips of almost no people.
In the first study of its kind, scientists have been able to measure the climatic effect of a wind farm on the local environment.
The team said its experiment showed that there was a very slight warming at ground level and that it was localised to within a wind farm’s perimeter.
Data suggested the operation of onshore wind farms did not have an adverse ecological effect, the group added.
That will presumably reassure all three residents living under wind-farms who were worried about their house overheating, or the clothes not drying on the line.
It may not reassure the 99.9% of the UK people who pay for the BBC and hope to see it report something useful. Voters might have preferred to see a cost benefit analysis on the billion-dollar industry: What’s the dollar return on a subsidized plant designed to stop floods and make storms nicer, and how many degrees of cooling does a trillion dollars buy?
Though the story does provide a handy link for people who want to say “Study finds windfarms have no adverse ecological impact”. A truthy statement — as long as we ignore the ecology of the species known as homo sapiens. If I were being cruel I could call it BBC style Bread-and-Circuses-clickbait.
The BBC would of course, not be biased in its choice of language. “Wind farms” means industrial wind turbine generators. Henceforth at the Beeb, coal-fired power stations shall be called “Coal Farms”.
And the University of Leeds is also a part of the Bread and Circuses industry. Someone could mention to the VC that doing the cost-benefit study above, or investigating the impact of infrasound on the health and sleeping patterns of people living in houses near wind “farms” would both be controversial, but might show that there was more of a point to having a university in Leeds. The BBC could’ve asked why hardly anyone seems to be doing this kind of health research, and whether the Leeds agreed that investigating wind turbine health effects would be “irresponsible”.
Armstrong et al, (2016) Ground-level climate at a peatland wind farm in Scotland is affected by wind turbine operation. Env. Res. Lett. [Open Access.]