Climate Change Could Shift Wind Generation from Northern to Southern Hemisphere

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By Editors of Power Engineering

A new study published in Nature Geoscience concludes climate change could shift wind production from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere.

The study, produced by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, said modern assessments of wind energy potential is based on the current state of the planet’s climate and doesn’t take into account changes in the climate due to greenhouse gas emissions.

Researchers applied an industry wind turbine power curve to simulations of high and low future emissions scenarios in ten fully-coupled global climate modes to investigate large-scale changes in wind power across the globe.

The calculations revealed decreases in wind potential in the Northern Hemisphere’s mid-latitudes and increases across the tropics and the Southern Hemisphere, though both had substantial regional variations.

The changes across the northern mid-latitudes appeared over time in both emissions scenarios, while the Southern Hemisphere changes appear critically sensitive to each individual emissions scenario.

The northern decreases were due to polar amplification, while the southern increases were due to enhanced land-sea thermal gradients.

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