Background & Objectives: Renewable energy generation systems are highly sensitive to climate. For example, clouds have a significant influence on solar power generation systems. They in turn are impacted by atmospheric aerosols which act as cloud condensation nuclei. Aerosols are both directly emitted from anthropogenic (e.g., power plants, transportation systems, industrial facilities) and natural sources (e.g., windblown dust, sea salt, forest fires), and form in the atmosphere. They can either inhibit or promote cloud formation, and/or precipitation, and thus are likely to play a significant role in altering the hydrological cycle, and perhaps electricity generation from hydroelectric, solar, and wind power systems. Integration of renewable energy systems within existing power generation infrastructure systems remains a challenging task as well. The objective of this study is to use cutting-edge satellite imaging technology and observations and coupled models to identify atmospheric variables and processes that impact solar power generation systems in Qatar and the Middle East. Methods: We will employ data from the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) in situ measurements, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite, and the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) scanner. We will also assess the potential impact of future changes in atmospheric composition, clouds, and radiation on solar power generation systems. For this purpose, we will employ version 5.0 of the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) modeling system, and the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Results: The research will provide a set of model and satellite-based maps showing the spatial and temporal distribution of aerosols over the region, potentially assisting analysis aimed at identifying sites for solar power generation systems in Qatar. Conclusions: The research project will help establish the knowledge infrastructure that relies on computational science and space technology to ensure that Qatar continues on the path of economic prosperity through effective integration of emerging technologies with existing infrastructure.


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