Research Papers

Impacts of Climate Change in Degree Days and Energy Demand in Coastal California

[+] Author and Article Information
B. Lebassi, D. Fabris

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA 95053

J. E. González1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The City College of New York, New York, NY 10031gonzalez@me.ccny.cuny.edu

R. Bornstein

Department of Meteorology, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA 95192


Corresponding author.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 132(3), 031005 (Jun 11, 2010) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001564 History: Received November 30, 2009; Revised February 02, 2010; Published June 11, 2010; Online June 11, 2010

An analysis of 1970–2005 observed summer daily maximum and minimum temperatures in two California air basins showed concurrent daytime coastal cooling and inland warming. To study the impacts of these results on energy consumption, summer cooling degree day (CDD) and winter heating degree day (HDD) trends were analyzed via these temperatures. The 2 m level air temperatures consisted of data from 159 locations in California, each with daily minimum and maximum values. Primary data sources included Cooperative Weather Station Network sites, first order National Weather Service stations, and military weather stations. An analysis of the CDD and HDD data has been undertaken for California, in general, and the San Francisco Bay Area and South Coast Air Basin, in particular, as the source of data for an analysis of energy-demand trends. Regional climate fluctuations have considerable effects on surface temperatures, which in turn affect CDD and HDD values. An asymmetric increase in summer CDD values between coastal and inland regions of California was found during the last 35 years, while winter HDD values showed decreases in most of California. In general, coastal areas experienced decreases of CDD, while inland regions experienced increases. The summer asymmetric increases in CDD is attributed to intensified sea breeze flows, which suggests increases in cold marine air intrusions over coastal land masses due to an increased regional sea breeze potential, which ventilates coastal areas, helps reduce maximum temperatures, and contributes to CDD decreases. An analysis of energy demands in the two air basins supports these climatological findings.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Topographic heights (m) for the SFBA (upper) and SoCAB (lower)

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Figure 2

Summer trends (s) of California: (a) SST, (b) Tave, (c) Tmin, and (d) Tmax (see text for definition of symbols)

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Figure 3

California trends (s) of (a) summer CDD and (b) winter HDD

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Figure 4

Spatial distributions of 1970–2005 summer CDD trends (DD decade−1, where red pluses show increasing values and blue dashes show decreasing values) for the (a) SoCAB and (b) SFBA

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Figure 5

Same as Fig. 4, but for winter HDD trends

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Figure 6

Trends in peak summer electricity usage at locations in the (a) SoCAB and (b) SFBA

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Figure 7

Trends in peak winter gas usage at selected locations




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