08 October 2015

Impact of Solar Panels on Global Climate

Summary

Regardless of the harmful effects of burning fossilf uels on global climate, other energy sources will become more important in the future because fossil fuels could run out by the early 22nd century given the present rate of consumption. This ismplies that sooner or later humanity will rely heavily on renewable energy sources.  Here we model the effects of an idealized large-scale application of renewable energy on global and regional climate relative to a background climate of the representative concentration pathway 2.6 scenario.  We find that solar panels alone induce regional cooling by converting incoming solar energy to electricity in comparison to the climate without solar panels.  The conversion of this electricity to heat, primarily in urban areas, increases regional and global tempertures which comensate the cooling effect.  However there are consequences involved with these processes that modulate the global atmospheri circulation, resulting in changes in regional precipitation.

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Publications
2015.  "Impact of Solar Panels on Global Climate."  Nature Climate Change.