Wind farm and solar park effects on plant-soil carbon cycling: uncertain impacts of changes in ground-level microclimate

Armstrong, A., Waldron, S. , Whitaker, J. and Ostle, N. J. (2014) Wind farm and solar park effects on plant-soil carbon cycling: uncertain impacts of changes in ground-level microclimate. Global Change Biology, 20(6), pp. 1699-1706. (doi: 10.1111/gcb.12437) (PMID:24132939) (PMCID:PMC4255238)

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Global energy demand is increasing as greenhouse gas driven climate change progresses, making renewable energy sources critical to future sustainable power provision. Land-based wind and solar electricity generation technologies are rapidly expanding, yet our understanding of their operational effects on biological carbon cycling in hosting ecosystems is limited. Wind turbines and photovoltaic panels can significantly change local ground-level climate by a magnitude that could affect the fundamental plant–soil processes that govern carbon dynamics. We believe that understanding the possible effects of changes in ground-level microclimates on these phenomena is crucial to reducing uncertainty of the true renewable energy carbon cost and to maximize beneficial effects. In this Opinions article, we examine the potential for the microclimatic effects of these land-based renewable energy sources to alter plant–soil carbon cycling, hypothesize likely effects and identify critical knowledge gaps for future carbon research.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Waldron, Professor Susan and Armstrong, Dr Alona
Authors: Armstrong, A., Waldron, S., Whitaker, J., and Ostle, N. J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Global Change Biology
Publisher:Blackwell Publishing
ISSN (Online):1365-2486
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
First Published:First published in Global Change Biology 20(6):1699-1706
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