National Aeronautics and Space Administration

National Climate Assessment

NASA National Climate Assessment (NCA) Activities

NASA Centers Call for Proposals

National Climate Assessment - 2011 NASA Centers Call For Proposals

Lead PI and Center: Paul Stackhouse, Langley Research Center
Title:  Assessing the Impact of Potential Climate Changes on Surface Meteorological and Solar Energy Flux Parameters Relevant to Energy Usage and Efficiency
Proposal Type: Assessment Capabilities & Products

Improvements of satellite based data sets, assimilation modeling and general circulation modeling is providing opportunities to better assess a wider variety of meteorological quantities from climate change scenarios. Some of these quantities are directly related to the way in which those changes would impact the US economy and adaptation strategies. Shifts in climate zones will require changes in building regulations and design codes to optimize future infrastructure choices and building HVAC systems enabling more energy efficient operation.

Proposed Effort:
This proposal will focus on “Assessment Capabilities and Products” for the National Climate Assessment (NCA) by using output from at least one of NASA’s two General Circulation Models (GMAO and GISS) to assess

  1. potential changes of future building climate zones (defined using temperature and precipitation) relative to present day and
  2. potential changes in solar energy resource available for energy production and supplementation.

Since buildings are now incorporating solar technologies, we also assess potential changes in future solar resource using the same model runs. Owing to the required schedule of the NCA, this proposal uses a twofold strategy:

  1. Provide to the NCA data products, analysis and documentation regarding the current state of the building climate zone estimates using MERRA and GCM control model runs before and after application of a downscaling technique. This will include an assessment of uncertainty of the GCM data products relative to surface measurements of these quantities. A similar analysis is proposed for solar resource data products providing information from current assessments in the science and solar energy communities relevant to the NCA.
  2. Provide to the NCA an assessment and data sets of the building climate zones and solar resource derived using GCM runs from various climate change scenarios to the present day. Assess observed shifts and changes in terms of the current climate uncertainties and variability for both quantities. Develop these climate scenario based products in formats commonly used by industry professionals for further use and assessment. Also, provide these data sets for use by other interested participants.

This work will demonstrate pathways for interpreting global model results of future GCM simulations for quantities directly related to evaluating the impact of climate changes on the more efficient usage of energy in the nation’s infrastructure. The assessment of surface solar irradiance will also have broader cross-cutting applications to most of the other sector areas in the national assessment including: agriculture, human health (UV exposure, disease), and ecosystems.

The analysis coupled with building design tools could lead to a fuller economic assessment.

Project Publications:

Westberg, David J., P.W. Stackhouse, Jr., D.B. Crawley, J.M. Hoell, W.S. Chandler, T. Zhang, 2013: An Analysis of NASA's MERRA Meteorological Data to Supplement Observational Data for Calculation of Climatic Design Conditions. ASHRAE Transactions. 119(2):210- 221.