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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-991
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-991
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 25 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 25 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Do large-scale wind farms affect air quality forecast? Modeling evidence in Northern China

Si Li1,3, Tao Huang1, Jingyue Mo4, Jixiang Li1, Xiaodong Zhang1, Jiao Du1, Shu Tao2, Junfeng Liu2, Wanyanhan Jiang1, Lulu Lian1, Hong Gao1, Xiaoxuan Mao1, Yuan Zhao2, and Jianmin Ma2,1 Si Li et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory for Environmental Pollution Prediction and Control, Gansu Province; College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, P. R. China
  • 2Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, P. R. China
  • 3College of Atmospheric Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, P. R. China
  • 4Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100000, P. R. China

Abstract. Wind farms have been found to alter local and regional meteorology and climate. Here, we show that multiple large-scale wind farms might disturb air quality forecasts and affect PM2.5 air pollution. We explore the impact of large-scale wind farms on PM2.5 concentrations and forecasts in the Northern China Plain in winter and summer using a coupled weather forecast – atmospheric chemistry model (WRF-Chem). Modelling results reveal that the large-scale wind farms decrease PM2.5 levels within the wind farms and increase PM2.5 concentrations by 49 % and 16 % of the modelled monthly mean PM2.5 concentrations in proximate areas and regions hundreds of kilometres downstream. The wind farm-forced changes in PM2.5 are more evident in the simulated hourly PM2.5 concentrations. The model sensitivity studies reveal that hourly concentration fractions in winter induced by wind farms vary from −40 % to 250 % in nearby and distant downstream regions and metropolises, comparing with the cases without the wind farms. The impact of wind farms on modeled PM2.5 during the nighttime is stronger than that in the daytime. Our results suggested that the wind farm perturbed changes in PM2.5 should not be overlooked because such changes might affect air quality forecast on an hourly basis, particularly in heavily contaminated Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei region by PM2.5.

Si Li et al.

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Short summary
Wind power provides clean energy and gets rapid development worldwide in the past decades, which helps to reduce air pollutants and CO2 emissions. This study shows that, because wind farm alters underlying surface characteristics and spinning turbine rotors generate atmospheric turbulence, the altered winds and temperatures forced by turbulence affect transport and diffusion of air pollutants near and hundreds km downstream of the wind farm, bringing uncertainties to the air quality forecast.
Wind power provides clean energy and gets rapid development worldwide in the past decades, which...
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