How Meteorological Data is used in the EnerSHelF Project

Interview with Prof. Harald Kunstmann and Dr. Windmanadga Sawadogo from University of Augsburg. They explain, how work package 3.2 uses the analysis of meteorological data to select the best configuration for the solar power generation at the three selected health facilties.

Work package 3 aims to improve the country- and sector-based forecast of solar power generation (PV) and consumption (health facilities). What is the specific aim of your work package “High resolution energy meteorological forecasts for Ghana”?

Our working group aims to forecast the key meteorological variables for solar power generation and consumption at the field sites. That includes for instance solar irradiation and air temperature.

How do you address this, what activities have you already started to implement the necessary measurements?

We will set up an operational high spatial resolution energy-meteorological forecast (up to 4 km) for Ghana by using the numerical weather prediction model WRF-Solar. The lead time of the forecasted variables will be 48 hours and the collected data will be used to optimize the efficiency of the PV hybrid systems at the health facilities included in the project.

We have already set-up the WRF-Solar domain for Ghana and finalized a first 13-months test simulation (December 2016 – December 2017). Additionally, we complement the WRF-solar simulation with hourly data on atmospheric, land and oceanic climate variables from the ERA5 dataset provided by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). In total we will run a set of five simulations for the 13-months test-run by changing the respective WRF-Solar scheme for the description of shortwave radiation physics. By doing so, we aim to select the best configuration for the studied domain.

What are the results so far, and the next steps?

So far, we are still running the WRF-Solar simulations. The next step will be the comparison of the output variables such as global horizontal irradiance and air temperature with other external data. This includes Ghana meteorological weather station data, WASCAL weather station data, and satellite data. In addition, we will process and evaluate a climatology (up to 30 years) of global horizontal irradiance and air temperature in Ghana. 

Harald Kunstmann is a professor and holder of the chair for regional climate and hydrology at the University of Augsburg in joint appointment with the KIT campus Alpin, Garmisch-Partenkirchen. He studied physics in Marburg, Virgina/USA, and Heidelberg before getting his PhD. in Natural Environmental Sciences from ETH, Zürich. In 2001, he started as the head of the research group Regional Climate and Hydrology at the KIT-Campus Alpin before being appointed as the head of the Regional Climate Systems Department in 2004. In 2018, he was invited as an Honorary Research Associate to the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford University. His research focuses on the impact of regional climate change on terrestrial hydrology. It comprises dynamic and statistical downscaling of meteorological fields, fully coupled and cross-compartmental regional atmospheric and hydrological modelling, modelling and observation of water and energy flows, the application of Commercial Microwave Links (CMLs) for precipitation determination as well as geostatistic merging of hydrometeorological variables.

Windmanadga Sawadogo is a research associate at the chair of Regional Climate and Hydrology at the University of Augsburg. He holds a PhD. in Meteorology and Climate Science from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and a M.Sc. in Climate Change and Energy from the University of Abdou Moumouni, Niamey, Niger. From 2017 – 2019, he was a visiting scholar at the Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG) at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. His research foci are meteorology, climate science, solar energy, wind energy, and regional climate models.