Global warming to increase ocean thermal energy conversion resources: study – Xinhua
BEIJING, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) — A Chinese research team has revealed that the potential power of global ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) could increase by 46 percent by the end of this century under a high carbon emission scenario.
“This is the first study to provide a quantitative assessment of the state of global OTEC resources under future climate change conditions, which provides important scientific guidance for the development and utilization of OTEC resources in the future,” said Jing Zhao, a physical oceanographer with the Ocean University of China.
OTEC utilizes large temperature differences between the sea surface and deep ocean to generate electricity, providing a renewable solution to fueling our future, he explained.
In this study, recently published in the journal Nature Communications, scientists evaluated the change of global OTEC resources under a high carbon emission scenario and analyzed its underlying dynamics, based on an unprecedented long-term high-resolution climate simulation.
“The findings demonstrate that the sea surface warming due to rising greenhouse gas emission causes an increase in global OTEC resources. However, this effect is partially offset by deep ocean warming, resulting from the downward transport of anthropogenic heat surplus from the surface to the deep ocean by oceanic eddies”, Jing said.
The study reveals the important role of oceanic eddies in regulating the future changes in ocean stratification and OTEC resources, and highlights the necessity of the development of high-resolution climate models for a better prediction of the future ocean and climate changes, he added. ■