A Greenland-sized wind farm on land would struggle to produce the 7 terawatts needed to power both the US and China, the world's largest consumers of energy. But the same wind farm over the sea could produce 10 terawatts, capable of lighting up China once and the United States twice, according to a study published Monday. All told, there's enough wind energy over the sea to power all of civilization, writes Chris Mooney in the Washington Post.

Why it matters: As countries switch to renewable energy, they will run into land use issues. Wind farms and solar panels take up space, and can damage habitats or harm migrating birds. A smaller farm at sea might have different—and potentially smaller—environmental impacts than one on land. "I would look at this as kind of a greenlight for that industry from a geophysical point of view," study author Ken Caldeira told the Post.

How it works: Each time wind passes through a turbine, some of its energy is converted to electricity. That means that it's less windy on the other side of the turbine. Eventually, rows of turbines on land lose so much wind they become ineffective, so there's a maximum amount of energy a land-based farm can create. Researchers already knew there was more wind over water, and that smooth ocean surfaces had less friction. This study shows the downward movement of air over the ocean replenishes wind as it moves through the farm, which means ocean farms have a much higher energy cap.

But, but, but: "It's very unlikely that we would ever build out open ocean turbines on anything like that scale — indeed, doing so could even alter the planet's climate, the research finds," writes Mooney. But this study shows that ocean turbines can be a part of a larger energy grid.

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Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks

Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Several Republican senators defended Anthony Fauci after a string of attacks in recent days from President Trump, who has called the government's top infectious-disease expert "a disaster" and falsely claimed that he's a Democrat.

Why it matters: As polls indicate warning signs for both Trump and down-ballot Republicans, more GOP leaders are urging the president to stop downplaying the pandemic and to listen to advice from public health experts. Fauci is one of the most trusted voice in the country on coronavirus issues.

Senate to vote on Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation on Oct. 26

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Capitol on Oct. 20. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Senate will vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court next Monday, Oct. 26, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Tuesday.

The big picture: The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote this Thursday to advance Barrett's nomination to the full Senate floor. Democrats have acknowledged that there's nothing procedurally they can do to stop Barrett's confirmation, which will take place just one week out from Election Day.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.