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Open AccessArticle

Beyond Singular Climatic Variables—Identifying the Dynamics of Wholesome Thermo-Physiological Factors for Existing/Future Human Thermal Comfort during Hot Dry Mediterranean Summers

1
University of Lisbon, Faculty of Architecture, CIAUD—Research Centre for Architecture, Urbanism and Design, Rua Sá Nogeuira, Pólo Universitário do Alto da Ajuda, 1349-063 Lisbon, Portugal
2
Laboratory of General and Agricultural Meteorology, Agricultural University of Athens, 118 55 Athens, Greece
3
Research Centre Human Biometeorology, German Meteorological Service, D-79104 Freiburg, Germany
4
Chair of Environmental Meteorology, Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, Albert-Ludwigs-University, D-79085 Freiburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2362; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112362
Received: 23 August 2018 / Revised: 16 October 2018 / Accepted: 22 October 2018 / Published: 25 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health)
Centered on hot dry Mediterranean summer climates, this study assesses the climatic data that was extracted from Lisbon’s meteorological station between the years of 2012 and 2016. Focused on the summer period, existing outdoor human thermal comfort levels that are already prone to extreme heat stress thresholds were evaluated. Such an assessment was rooted around identifying the relationship and discrepancies between singular climatic variables (e.g., air Temperature (Ta)); and adapted thermos-physiological indices (e.g., the modified physiologically equivalent temperature (mPET)), which also consider the influence of radiation fluxes over the human body. In addition, default urban canyon case studies (UCCs) were utilized to supplement how both differ and influence one another, especially under extreme weather conditions including heat waves events (HWE), and very hot days (VHD). Through the use of wholesome thermo-physiological indices, the study revealed that while human health and thermal comfort is already prone to extreme physiological stress (PS) grades during one of the hottest months of the year, the current extremes could be drastically surpassed by the end of the century. Within the examined UCCs, it was identified that the projected PET could reach values of 58.3 °C under a projected climate change RCP8.5/SRES A1FI scenario. Similarly, and in terms of thermo-physiological stress loads, the following could happen: (i) a future “cooler summer day” could present similar conditions to those currently found during a ‘typical summer day; (ii) a future ‘typical summer day’ could present hourly physiological equivalent temperature load (PETL) that recurrently surpassed those currently found during a “very hot day”; and, (iii) a future “very hot day” could reveal severe hourly PETL values that reached 35.1 units beyond the established “no thermal stress” class. View Full-Text
Keywords: human thermal comfort; physiologically equivalent temperature; urban canyon cases; climate change; Mediterranean climate human thermal comfort; physiologically equivalent temperature; urban canyon cases; climate change; Mediterranean climate
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Santos Nouri, A.; Charalampopoulos, I.; Matzarakis, A. Beyond Singular Climatic Variables—Identifying the Dynamics of Wholesome Thermo-Physiological Factors for Existing/Future Human Thermal Comfort during Hot Dry Mediterranean Summers. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 2362.

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