The Impact of a Hydroelectric Power Plant on a Regional Climate in Portugal

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This paper summarizes the results from microclimatic monitoring of the impacts related to the construction and exploration phase of a hydroelectric powerplant in the upper Douro River (Portugal). Reference climatic elements for both periods were obtained and the impacts of the reservoir water mass on the region’s microclimate were evaluated. For this purpose, Sen’s slope estimate non-parametric test was used to detect the meteorological variables’ trends over 10 years, considering the division into the construction (2011–2015) and exploration (2016–2020) phases. A network of meteorological stations located close to the dam, in addition to a control station relatively distant from the dam, was used to collect the meteorological data. The control station is still integrated into the same regional climatic context but not exposed to the direct influence of the resulting reservoirs. As a result, temporal differences were determined for temperature and relative humidity. The results show a statistically significant increase in the minimum relative humidity, accompanied by a statistically significant decrease in the daily and seasonal temperature amplitudes between the construction and the exploration phase periods. These outcomes thereby suggest that large reservoirs affect the local climate and may create new microclimates, in the surrounding area, with both positive and negative potential effects.
dam’s effect , climate change