Investigator:

Daniel Steinberg

Advisor: Rob Bailis / Arnulf Grubler

Description:

My master's project will examine the effects of climate change on electricity use in Europe. From 2000-2100 Europe is expected to experience a 1 to 5.5° C increase in mean surface temperature (Alcamo et al., 2007). This warming will directly affect European energy consumption due to changes in the energy required to heat and cool buildings. Generally, increased surface temperatures will reduce the energy required for heating in the winter season and will increase the energy required for cooling in the summer. In addition to these warming trends, Europe is experiencing large growth in air-conditioner saturation (percentage of air-conditioned buildings; Waide, 2004). Increases in air-conditioner saturation will significantly amplify the effect of climate warming on energy consumption.

This two-year study is proposed to examine the long-term changes in total electricity consumption due to coupled expected changes in spatially-explicit heating degree days (HDD) and cooling degree days (CDD) with increases in air-conditioner saturation. In order to model changes in electricity consumption due to changes in climate, I will be examining the historical relationships between spatially explicit temperature and electricity data. I will use IDL (and ENVI) to process and analyze past climate grids and to process and analyze future climate projections (Hadley Center projections). I will rasterize my electricity data in order to build a completely spatially explicit model.