Weather ‘blocked’ by North Sea offshore wind farms soon?

The West Wind Drift supported by warm North Atlantic and Norwegian Current keep North Europe’s winter mild. How many offshore wind turbines are needed to decrease the flow of this warm air eastwards, which usually keep Siberian temperatures at bay from reaching West Europe? Today already more than 1200 turbines are grounded in a water depth down to 30 meters and more. The turbines “consume wind”, a force which is no longer available in the West Wind Drift to flow smoothly eastwards. Will it one day show an impact on the weather and air temperatures?


Computer simulations by Professor Mark Z. Jacobson have shown that offshore wind farms with thousands of wind turbines could have sapped the power of three real-life hurricanes that may diminish peak near-surface hurricane wind speeds by 25–41 m s−1 (56–92 mph) and storm surge by 6–79%. That is impressive, but for a reduced Hurricane Katrina’s wind speeds by 50 percent by the time it reach land a protective wall of 70,000 offshore wind turbines built 60 miles offshore from New Orleans would be needed.

On one hand the North Sea is far away from such figures, on the other hand the West Wind Drift across Northern Europe is an important factor in the Northern Hemisphere weather system where presumably much less turbines may have a serious impact. It seems neither any regulatory agency nor science has shown any interest in the matter until now.

! MORE: Mark Z. Jacobson et al (2014), Taming hurricanes with arrays of offshore wind turbines; Nature Climate Change 4, 195–200 (2014)
and Uni-Report:

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  • LeeLarvey  says:

    Hurricane is a rare event, presumably the permanent change in sea current structure may influence the west wind drift.

  • Daavid A  says:

    In a hurricane all wind mills are shut down, (destroyed if not) so there could be zero protection from a major hurricane.

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