Detection of Climate Changes in the Caribbean and Implications in the Energy Infrastructure 

Presenter:  Dr. Jorge González, Mechanical Engineering professor , City College of New YorkDr Jorge E  Gonzalez Cruz foto

 Date:  Feb 11, 2016  6:30 PM, Anfiteatro Industrial

“Tropical regions contain approximately one-third of the total world population and they are highly vulnerable to the consequences of accelerated climate change. Extreme events such as very high heat index (heat waves) could affect the human health in different degrees, and changes in energy demands to mitigate these events will become crucial to protect the population. The Intra-Americas region is a tropical converging zone, defined as the area enclosed by 0°N to 30°N and 100°W to 60°W. This tropical region was used as case study to assess the relationship between a warming climate trend and energy demands. Recent reports for the region show a rapidly increasing sea surface temperatures (SSTs) at rates of 0.3oC per decade. This warming trend is expected to result in higher energy demands for air conditioning systems. Gridded reanalysis data was used to conduct heat index (HI), human discomfort index (HDI) and enthalpy climatology over the period 1980-2013. The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) energy was estimated on a per capita basis for each country and it refers to the energy required to bring temperatures and humidity to comfort levels. The Intra-America region climatology was divided into the early rainfall season (ERS; April-July) and the late rainfall season (LRS; Aug-Nov). The LRS was characterized with the highest values, with the Greater Antilles defined as an “extreme caution” region (average HI of 95oF), and with the highest HDI with an average value of 0.4, becoming the zone with most energy requirements. Long-term HI averaged over the Intra-America region shows a continuously increasing trend of 0.11oF per year, indicating clearly that this region will require higher energy consumption for air conditioning system in order to keep population at comfortable levels. In this way, climate change is linked to energy consumption requirements. When focusing in specific locations, the Island of Puerto Rico shows a HVAC increase of 0.02 GW per year in a direct relationship with the HI change of 0.011oF per year over the period 1980 to 2013. The presentation will also include projections of these trends along the 21st Century using downscaled results from global circulation models and scenarios suggested by the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change.”