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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Impact of aerosols on reservoir inflow: A case study for Big Creek Hydroelectric System in California

  • Author(s): Kabir, F
  • Yu, N
  • Yao, W
  • Wu, L
  • Jiang, JH
  • Gu, Y
  • Su, H
  • et al.

Published Web Location Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License

© 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Accurate and reliable reservoir inflow forecast is instrumental to the efficient operation of the hydroelectric power systems. It has been discovered that natural and anthropogenic aerosols have a great influence on meteorological variables such as temperature, snow water equivalent, and precipitation, which in turn impact the reservoir inflow. Therefore, it is imperative for us to quantify the impact of aerosols on reservoir inflow and to incorporate the aerosol models into future reservoir inflow forecasting models. In this paper, a comprehensive framework was developed to quantify the impact of aerosols on reservoir inflow by integrating the Weather Research and Forecasting model with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) and a dynamic regression model. The statistical dynamic regression model produces forecasts for reservoir inflow based on the meteorological output variables from the WRF-Chem model. The case study was performed on the Florence Lake and Lake Thomas Alva Edison of the Big Creek Hydroelectric Project in the San Joaquin Region. The simulation results show that the presence of aerosols results in a significant reduction of annual reservoir inflow by 4–14%. In the summer, aerosols reduce precipitation, snow water equivalent, and snowmelt that leads to a reduction in inflow by 11–26%. In the spring, aerosols increase temperature and snowmelt which leads to an increase in inflow by 0.6–2%. Aerosols significantly reduce the amount of inflow in the summer when the marginal value of water is extremely high and slightly increase the inflow in the spring when the run-off risk is high. In summary, the presence of aerosols is detrimental to the optimal utilization of hydroelectric power systems.

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