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

1
Institute for Environmental Research & Sustainable Development (IERSD), National Observatory of Athens, GR-15236 Athens, Greece
2
Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing (IAASARS), National Observatory of Athens, GR-15236 Athens, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(8), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10080436
Received: 20 June 2019 / Revised: 24 July 2019 / Accepted: 25 July 2019 / Published: 27 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Thermal Risk)
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Abstract

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 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: Europe; hot extremes; heat waves; cold extremes; cold waves; bioclimatic indices; heat stress; urban thermal risk Europe; hot extremes; heat waves; cold extremes; cold waves; bioclimatic indices; heat stress; urban thermal risk
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Founda, D.; Pierros, F.; Katavoutas, G.; Keramitsoglou, I. Observed Trends in Thermal Stress at European Cities with Different Background Climates. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 436.

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