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Analysis of Surface Wind Response to increasing CO2

PI: Daniel Kirk-Davidoff
Institution: University of Maryland
The climate statistics of surface winds at all spacial and temporal scales are of great importance to many human and ecological concerns. Among the most important are impacts on wind power resources and on dust production. It is often stated that mid-latitude winds are expected to decrease in a doubled CO2 world, since positive feedbacks at the poles should reduce the meridional temperature gradient, which by thermal wind balance would then reduce jet stream winds, reducing vertical wind gradients, and therefor surface winds. However, surface winds are determined not only by gradient of wind in the boundary layer, but also by the static stability and the degree of surface thermal forcing of turbulence. Changes in these variables also strongly influence surface wind speed.

In this study, we will examine output from a range of general circulation model projections of the climate of the 21st century. We will look at predictions of the climate statistics for surface wind, including the terms of the global angular momentum budget, and attempt to isolate the causes of differences among the various models.

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    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory  |  Physical & Life Sciences Directorate