Observed Trends in Thermal Stress at European Cities with Different Background Climates

Dimitra Founda, Fragiskos Pierros, George Katavoutas, Iphigenia Keramitsoglou
2019 Atmosphere  
Intensification of extreme temperatures combined with other socioeconomic factors may exacerbate human thermal risk. The disastrous impacts of extreme weather during the last two decades demonstrated the increased vulnerability of populations even in developed countries from Europe, which are expected to efficiently manage adverse weather. The study aims to assess trends in the exposure of European populations to extreme weather using updated historical climatic data in large European cities of
more » ... different local climates and a set of climatic and bioclimatic indices. Colder cities experience higher warming rates in winter (exceeding 1 °C/decade since the mid-1970s) and warmer cities in summer. Hot extremes have almost tripled in most cities during the last two or three decades with simultaneous advancing of hot weather, while northernmost cities have experienced an unprecedented increase in the heat waves frequency only during the last decade. Bioclimatic indices suggested a robust tendency towards less cold-related stress (mainly in cold cities) and more heat-related stress in all cities. A doubling or tripling in the frequency of heat-related 'great discomfort' was found in southern cities, while in the cities of northern Europe, heat-related 'discomfort' conditions are becoming increasingly more frequent and have nearly quadrupled during the last decade.
doi:10.3390/atmos10080436 fatcat:bd2cdwdgwzb6zgdad4qoexn6zm