Ground-level climate at a peatland wind farm in Scotland is affected by wind turbine operation

Armstrong, A., Burton, R. R., Lee, S. E., Mobbs, S., Ostle, N., Smith, V., Waldron, S. and Whitaker, J. (2016) Ground-level climate at a peatland wind farm in Scotland is affected by wind turbine operation. Environmental Research Letters, 11(4), 044024. (doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/044024)

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Abstract

The global drive to produce low-carbon energy has resulted in an unprecedented deployment of onshore wind turbines, representing a significant land use change for wind energy generation with uncertain consequences for local climatic conditions and the regulation of ecosystem processes. Here, we present high-resolution data from a wind farm collected during operational and idle periods that shows the wind farm affected several measures of ground-level climate. Specifically, we discovered that operational wind turbines raised air temperature by 0.18 °C and absolute humidity (AH) by 0.03 g m−3 during the night, and increased the variability in air, surface and soil temperature throughout the diurnal cycle. Further, the microclimatic influence of turbines on air temperature and AH decreased logarithmically with distance from the nearest turbine. These effects on ground-level microclimate, including soil temperature, have uncertain implications for biogeochemical processes and ecosystem carbon cycling, including soil carbon stocks. Consequently, understanding needs to be improved to determine the overall carbon balance of wind energy.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Waldron, Professor Susan and Armstrong, Dr Alona
Authors: Armstrong, A., Burton, R. R., Lee, S. E., Mobbs, S., Ostle, N., Smith, V., Waldron, S., and Whitaker, J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Environmental Research Letters
Publisher:Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd.
ISSN:1748-9326
ISSN (Online):1748-9326
Published Online:22 April 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd.
First Published:First published in Environmental Research Letters 11:044024
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
524211Impact of Spatio-Climatic Variability on Environment-Hosted Land-based Renewables: MicroclimatesSusan WaldronNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/H010351/1SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHICAL & EARTH SCIENCES