Quantitative analysis of fault and fracture systems and their impact on groundwater flow in Irish bedrock aquifers


PhD Candidate: Laura Zubiate

Supervisors: Professor Frank McDermott (UCD), Dr Conor Sweeney (UCD), Professor Mark O’Malley (UCD)

Funded by: ENS HEA-PRTLI-5



The major goal of this PhD project is to develop improved methods to quantify the spatio-temporal sensitivity of wind energy resources on regional to local scales within selected areas of NW Europe, to natural variability in large-scale atmospheric teleconnection patterns (e.g. Comas-Bru and McDermott, 2014), as well as to likely superimposed anthropogenic effects in the future. The impact of several atmospheric teleconnection patterns on regional scale wind speeds, directions and associated power generation potential will be studied, including inter-alia, the impact of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), the East Atlantic Oscillation (EA) and the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

A key aspect of the study will be to quantify the extent to which shifts in large scale patterns such as the NAO and EA result in geographic relocation of wind resources and complementarities between regions, that in turn have important implications for wind power generation and regional scale electricity grid design. Dynamical downscaling using a mesoscale model (e.g. WRF) will be necessary to link large scale flow patterns to localized observations, particularly in areas of complex topography.  In addition to their natural variability, several of these patterns may be sensitive to anthropogenic climate forcing. Probabilistic regional climate models (RCMs) will be utilised to assess regional scale differences in the sensitivity of wind resources to changes in these large scale atmospheric patterns that may arise from anthropogenic forcing. The project is strongly inter-disciplinary as it will combine numerical modelling of climate-driven wind resources with engineering considerations such as the power rating curves of wind turbines.



Comas?Bru, L. and McDermott, F. (2014) Impacts of the EA and SCA patterns on the European twentieth century NAO–winter climate relationship. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 140 (679), 354-363