We consider the impact of climate change on the wind energy resource of Ireland using an ensemble of regional climate model (RCM) simulations. The RCM used in this work is the Consortium for Small-scale Modelling–climate limited-area modelling (COSMO-CLM) model.
The COSMO-CLM model was evaluated by performing simulations of the past Irish climate, driven by European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts ERA-40 data, and comparing the output with observations. For the investigation of the influence of the future climate under different climate scenarios, the Max Planck Institute's global climate model, ECHAM5, was used to drive the COSMO-CLM model. Simulations are run for a control period 1961–2000 and future period 2021–2060. To add to the number of ensemble members, the control and future simulations were driven by different realizations of the ECHAM5 data. The future climate was simulated using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emission scenarios, A1B and B1.
The research was undertaken to consolidate, and as a continuation of, similar research using the Rossby Centre's RCA3 RCM to investigate the effects of climate change on the future wind energy resource of Ireland. The COSMO-CLM projections outlined in this study agree with the RCA3 projections, with both showing substantial increases in 60 m wind speed over Ireland during winter and decreases during summer. The projected changes of both studies were found to be statistically significant over most of Ireland. The agreement of the COSMO-CLM and RCA3 simulation results increases our confidence in the robustness of the projections. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.