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Impacts of a Warming Climate on Energy Demands on U.S. Northeast Region

[+] Author Affiliations
Ruben Picon-Feliciano, Jorge E. Gonzalez-Cruz

The City College of New York, CUNY, New York, NY

Jose Pillich

CUNY, New York, NY

Paper No. ES2012-91247, pp. 1173-1178; 6 pages
  • ASME 2012 6th International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the ASME 2012 10th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • ASME 2012 6th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, Parts A and B
  • San Diego, California, USA, July 23–26, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division, Solar Energy Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4481-6
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


This paper analyzes the impacts of a changing climate to long-term energy activity reflected in power consumption and carbon emissions for the United States (US) Northeast (NE) region. This region represents approximately four percent of the total power consumption of the US. The paper revises the potential changes in the regional climate in the NE by analyzing long-term records of climatological data, and how these potential changes are impacting the energy demands and anthropogenic emissions due to power production. Climate records from 372 stations spread over the 9 states in the NE region were used for the period of time comprising from 1970 to 2010. The stations are part of NOAA’s Cooperative Observation Stations (COOP) that includes data for precipitation and surface maximum, minimum and average temperatures. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) for the region were analyzed from NOAA extended reconstructed sea surface temperature (ERSST) records. Long term records for state energy profiles were generated by examining the end-use sectors: residential, commercial and industrial sector using data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Results from the COOP stations and SSTs reflect that the NE region presents an asymmetric warming reflected in significant coastal warming and inland cooling. A maximum land temperature variability of 1.61°C/decade was observed during this period of time with a mean value of 0.012°C/decade for the entire region. This coastal warming may be attributed to a combined effect of global warming and population growth reflected in urbanization and related effects such as the Urban Heat Island (UHI). A symmetric warming was found in minimum surface temperatures across the region with an average of 0.06°C/decade. Both land surface temperature increases are consistent with regional SSTs trends. The energy analysis suggests that a correlation may exist between the locations of highest energy consumption and urbanized coastal areas. Total energy consumption in coastal regions increased by 13 percent during 1960–2010, in contrast, inland sites consumption increased by 9 percent. At the sector level, CO2 emissions associated to residential energy demand drastically decreased over 37 percent per capita, attributed to energy efficiencies and possibly to a warmer region in winter times. Despite these trends, the NE region continues to be one of the largest CO2 sources of US accounting for more than 15% of all emissions. These results reflect the need for better understanding of the connections between climate, energy demands and production to achieve sustainable growth.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME
Topics: Climate



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