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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute

Past Events

Find out about some of the previous events held by Durham Energy Institute:

Guest Seminar: Weather and climate: understanding their impact on energy systems

20th July 2010, 11:00 to 12:00, Room E360, School of Engineering & Computing Sciences, Dr David Brayshaw, University of Reading

Weather has a profound impact on many aspects of energy production, distribution and consumption.  Intense storms damage physical infrastructure; large-scale atmospheric "blocking highs" are often associated with cold winter temperatures and high energy demand; droughts may lead to thermal plants having cooling problems in summer; and the slow evolution of climate may change the statistics of all these weather events.  Furthermore, with the increasing deployment of renewable energy technologies, many of which are highly sensitive to weather (such as wind and solar), it is reasonable to expect that the energy system will become ever more sensitive to the vagaries of weather and climate in the coming decades.  Understanding the impact of weather and climate on the energy system is therefore an important task.

This talk aims to highlight some of the important dynamical atmospheric processes that can impact on energy systems and how these may evolve on time-scales ranging from hours through to centuries.  The aim is not to present "answers" but rather to promote deeper discussions between the energy and weather/climate communities.  To this end, the talk will also: (a) provide an overview of the main approaches used for predicting/projecting future weather and climate; and (b) show a simple example of how slowly-evolving large-scale atmospheric patterns can have a profound affect on wind-power generation over the UK and how this can potentially be used to create improved statistical forecasts of power production.


David Brayshaw is a post-doctoral research fellow at the National Centre for Atmospheric Sciences and the Department of Meteorology in the University of Reading.  He gained his PhD in Meteorology at Reading in 2007, having previously completed an MSci (Theoretical Physics) at Durham in 2001.  His research now focusses on large-scale atmospheric dynamics and, in particular, its impact on European weather and climate.  He has published a number of papers in this area, ranging from idealised studies into the formation of the North Atlantic "storm track" to understanding past changes in climate on millennial timescales (particularly in the Mediterranean).

More recently, he has been working on the links between weather, climate and renewable energy production.  He is currently publishing a paper demonstrating how planetary-scale climate variations can be used to improve long-range statistical forecasts of wind-energy production over the UK.

Contact for more information about this event.

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