Climate change Punta Arenas is the kingdom of winds. The historical record for wind gusts is 153 km/h. However, wind gusts of 90 km/h are common. However, wind gusts of 90 km/h are common. What is the reason for such intensity in the wind? Wind is the movement of air from a high pressure zone to a low pressure zone. It is generated by the irregular heating of the earth by the sun. The wind travels from cold places to warm places. The greater the difference between the sites
the greater the wind speed. That said, not far from Punta Arenas is the coldest place on the planet, Antarctica, so the temperature contrast (and therefore the intensity for wind flow) is tremendous. The intensity of the wind in the Magallanes Region offers an interesting opportunity for electrical independence from fossil fuels. However, it also presents new challenges. The inexorable advance of climate change raises more questions than answers about the meteorological future in the Region of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica.
Wind is a seemingly infinite resource
easy and seemingly innocuous to exploit. Punta Arenas has some wind power plants that represent a sustainable alternative for energy generation. These power plants are usually gigantic metallic constructions with three large blades. As the winds blow and move the blades, electricity is generated. However, such constructions can interfere with bird migration routes. An interesting alternative is piezoelectricity. These are generators that use the impact of wind to generate electricity by repelling magnets inside them. Piezoelectricity is a less invasive application with our environment and has many more applications. Its research and application could revolutionize the generation of electricity, which would help to leave behind dependence on fossil fuels.
Intense winds do not simply translate into energy generation climate change
they also have ecological consequences. The intensification of winds is thought to be a consequence of the increase in the earth’s temperature and the deterioration of the ozone layer (the latter is in active recovery, but unfortunately the temperature will continue to rise). To see the ecological impact of wind, it is enough to observe what is happening in Antarctica. There, we have a puzzle of wind patterns with different intensities.
In places with high wind intensity, winter ice increases its extent, while in places with low intensity, the extent of winter ice decreases. This affects the survival and distribution of ice-dependent species, such as the Antarctic krill or the emperor penguin. In the case of the Magallanes region, climate variability in recent decades was studied by Soto-Rogel and collaborators (2020), who detected a trend towards aridity, in which the increase in wind intensity and atypically warm temperatures stand out. However, the pattern is not consistent throughout the region, probably due to the heterogeneous orography and vegetation.
The intensification of the consequences of climate change is inevitable climate change
at least in the next few years, so it is very important to study these meteorological aspects as often as possible. Paradoxically, the intensification of winds has attenuated (not stopped) the increase in temperature in the Austral region. However, the duration of this effect is unknown and in any case, it does not change the urgency of abandoning the burning of fossil fuels.
Since the Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica Region has an enormous wind potential, it is necessary to monitor the activity, intensity and direction of the wind over the years. At the Fundación Cequa Regional Center, constant activities are being carried out to monitor the wind. Among these activities is the installation of state-of-the-art weather stations at key points in the region, which will provide detailed daily information on meteorological fluctuations in some areas of the region, records that can complement and contrast the monitoring of other regional institutions.