The impacts of large-scale solar farms on global climate and terrestrial ecosystems

SNIC 2022/6-202


SNIC Medium Storage

Principal Investigator:

Zhengyao Lu


Lunds universitet

Start Date:


End Date:


Primary Classification:

10501: Climate Research

Secondary Classification:

10503: Geosciences, Multidisciplinary

Tertiary Classification:

10599: Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences



The medium storage (50 000 GB, 2 million files) I apply for will be used to store and post-process the model output for each simulation. Note that the main computation resources will be provided by SNIC Large Compute project S-CMIP (SNIC 2022/1-3) which I am involved. The relevant Large Storage project (SNIC 2021/2-9) expired and was not renewed by the PI. Supported by FORMAS project "The impacts of large-scale solar farms on climate and terrestrial ecosystem", as a project PI, I will carry out a set of ESM simulations including massive solar farms across the globe. For instance, we will hypothesize “desert solar farm” and “urban solar farm” scenarios, with envisioned solar farms in the Arabian Desert, Gobi Desert, Australian Desert and Great Basin Desert (southwest United States), and major cities in Europe, Asia, Africa, Americas and Oceania, and also for Sweden. The simulated climate and ecosystem response will be shown by comparing with a control simulation of the current climate state. Solar energy is a good alternative to replace fossil fuel and reduce carbon emissions for reaching the global climate mitigation goals. The applications of solar technologies are growing fast everywhere in the world. However, associated with complex atmosphere-land(vegetation) feedbacks and ocean-atmosphere feedbacks, the profound impacts on climate and terrestrial ecosystem induced by the envisioned large-scale solar farms are poorly understood. Using the advanced Earth System Model (ESM) EC-Earth, I will perform and analyze the numerical simulations to fill this knowledge gap and to quantify the responses in climate regime, ocean general circulation and terrestrial ecosystem induced by large-scale solar panel installations in the world. The results will provide new scientific information to mitigate the potential damages for the wide application of solar energy.