Climate change expected to increase southern hemisphere wind resource
Research conducted at the University of Colorado Boulder, US, has found that the wind energy resource is likely to be significantly affected by climate change, with increases expected in the southern hemisphere, while wind power will broadly decline in the northern hemisphere.
The study, published in Nature Geoscience, applied simulations of high and low future emissions scenarios in ten global climate models to investigate large-scale changes in wind power across the globe.
The simulations revealed decreases in wind power across the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes and increases across the tropics and Southern Hemisphere, with substantial regional variations.
The study found that the changes across the northern mid-latitudes are robust responses over time in both emissions scenarios, whereas the Southern Hemisphere changes appear critically sensitive to each individual emissions scenario.
Eastern Australia is expected to see a big increase in wind energy, rising by 48kW, or 23%.
The study concluded that established features of climate change can explain these patterns: polar amplification is implicated in the northern mid-latitude decrease in wind power, and enhanced land–sea thermal gradients account for the tropical and southern subtropical increases.
The paper, Southward shift of the global wind energy resource under high carbon dioxide emissions, is available here.