Comparative effects of climate change and tidal stream energy extraction in a shelf sea

De Dominicis, Michela ORCID:; Wolf, Judith ORCID:; O'Hara Murray, Rory. 2018 Comparative effects of climate change and tidal stream energy extraction in a shelf sea. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 123 (7). 5041-5067.

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The environmental implications of tidal stream energy extraction need to be evaluated against the potential climate change impacts on the marine environment. Here, we study how hypothetical very large tidal stream arrays and a “business as usual” future climate scenario can change the hydrodynamics of a seasonally stratified shelf sea. The Scottish Shelf Model, an unstructured grid three‐dimensional ocean model, has been used to reproduce the present and the future state of the NW European continental shelf. Four scenarios have been modelled: present conditions and projected future climate in 2050, each with and without very large scale tidal stream arrays in Scottish Waters (UK). It is found that where tidal range is reduced a few cm by tidal stream energy extraction, it can help to counter extreme water levels associated with future sea level rise. Tidal velocities, and consequently tidal mixing, are also reduced overall by the action of the tidal turbine arrays. A key finding is that climate change and tidal energy extraction both act in the same direction, in terms of increasing stratification due to warming and reduced mixing, however the effect of climate change is an order of magnitude larger.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 21699275
Date made live: 09 Jul 2018 15:11 +0 (UTC)

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