Special Issue "Urban Thermal Risk"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Biometeorology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Dimitra Founda
E-Mail
Guest Editor
National Observatory of Athens, Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development, Athens, Greece
Interests: climate change; urban climate; meteorology; atmospheric boundary layer

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Intensifying urbanization is a widespread phenomenon with profound implications for society, the economy and natural systems. More than half of the world’s population are now urban residents, and over the next 30 years, the proportion is projected to increase to around 70 percent. At the same time, in the context of a ‘warming planet’, extremely hot weather is becoming more frequent, with global climate models suggesting further increases in the intensity, frequency and duration of heat waves in the 21st century. In summer 2018, the Northern Hemisphere experienced unprecedented prolonged heat waves with serious impacts even in countries that are rich and well-prepared for climate change. Heat waves are among the most hazardous climate extremes with devastating effects on human and natural systems. The urban population is exposed to increased heat-related risk due to the elevated urban temperatures associated with the urban heat island (UHI) phenomenon and high population density. Severe heat waves in the past have been responsible for mass loss of life in large cities. Poverty, aging and other societal factors have been proven to strongly affect vulnerability to thermal risk/mortality. In a rapidly warming and urbanizing environment, it is imperative to assess, manage and finally lower the thermal risk for urban residents. In this Special Issue we aim to publish innovative articles investigating observed and projected interactions/synergies between UHIs and extremely hot weather (not yet well understood), assessing and mapping intra-urban thermal risk distribution or elaborating tools and services for thermal risk reduction.

Dr. Dimitra Founda
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • UHI
  • heat waves
  • global warming
  • heat stress
  • vulnerability
  • services

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Urban Thermal Risk
Atmosphere 2021, 12(4), 466; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12040466 - 08 Apr 2021
Viewed by 218
Abstract
Global warming is accelerating and according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the decade from 2011 to 2020 was the warmest recorded decade ever [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Thermal Risk)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Behavioural Perspectives of Outdoor Thermal Comfort in Urban Areas: A Critical Review
Atmosphere 2020, 11(1), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11010051 - 31 Dec 2019
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1505
Abstract
The thermal characteristics of outdoor urban spaces and the street networks connecting them are vital to the assessment of the liveability and sustainability of cities. When urban spaces are thermally comfortable, city dwellers spend more time outdoors. This has several benefits for human [...] Read more.
The thermal characteristics of outdoor urban spaces and the street networks connecting them are vital to the assessment of the liveability and sustainability of cities. When urban spaces are thermally comfortable, city dwellers spend more time outdoors. This has several benefits for human health and wellbeing, also reducing indoor energy consumption and contributing to local economy. Studies on outdoor thermal comfort have highlighted the need to develop interdisciplinary frameworks that integrate physical, physiological, psychological, and social parameters to assist urban planners and designers in design decisions. In this paper, an extensive literature review of outdoor thermal comfort studies over the past decade was undertaken, including both rational and adaptive thermal comfort approaches, from the contextualize the behaviour perspectives related to the use of urban space. Consequently, the paper suggests a comprehensive framework for evaluating the relationship between the quantitative and qualitative parameters linking the microclimatic environment with subjective thermal assessment and social behaviour. The framework aims to contribute to the development of exclusive thermal comfort standards for outdoor urban settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Thermal Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Response of Urban Heat Stress to Heat Waves in Athens (1960–2017)
Atmosphere 2019, 10(9), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10090483 - 22 Aug 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4490
Abstract
The increasing frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves seem to follow the observed global warming in recent decades. Vulnerability to heat waves is expected to increase in urban environments mainly due to population density and the effect of the urban heat island [...] Read more.
The increasing frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves seem to follow the observed global warming in recent decades. Vulnerability to heat waves is expected to increase in urban environments mainly due to population density and the effect of the urban heat island that make cities hotter than surrounding non-urban areas. The present study focuses on a vulnerable area of the eastern Mediterranean, already characterized as a ‘hot spot’ with respect to heat-related risk and investigates the change in heat stress levels during heat wave compared to non-heat wave conditions as well as the way that heat stress levels respond to heat waves in urban, compared to non-urban, environments. The adoption of a metric accounting for both the intensity and duration of the hot event yielded a total of 46 heat wave episodes over a nearly 60-year period, but with very rare occurrence until the late 1990s and a profound increased frequency thereafter. The results reveal a difference of at least one thermal stress category between heat wave and non-heat wave periods, which is apparent across the entire range of the thermal stress distribution. The analysis demonstrates a robust intensification of nighttime heat stress conditions in urban, compared to non-urban, sites during severe heat waves. Nevertheless, severe heat waves almost equalize heat stress conditions between urban and non-urban sites during midday. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Thermal Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Observed Trends in Thermal Stress at European Cities with Different Background Climates
Atmosphere 2019, 10(8), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10080436 - 27 Jul 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1505
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Thermal Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Heat Waves and Human Well-Being in Madrid (Spain)
Atmosphere 2019, 10(5), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10050288 - 22 May 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1535
Abstract
Heat waves pose additional risks to urban spaces because of the additional heat provided by urban heat islands (UHIs) as well as poorer air quality. Our study focuses on the analysis of UHIs, human thermal comfort, and air quality for the city of [...] Read more.
Heat waves pose additional risks to urban spaces because of the additional heat provided by urban heat islands (UHIs) as well as poorer air quality. Our study focuses on the analysis of UHIs, human thermal comfort, and air quality for the city of Madrid, Spain during heat waves. Heat wave periods are defined using the long-term records from the urban station Madrid-Retiro. Two types of UHI were studied: the canopy layer UHI (CLUHI) was evaluated using air temperature time-series from five meteorological stations; the surface UHI (SUHI) was derived from land surface temperature (LST) images from MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) products. To assess human thermal comfort, the Physiological Equivalent Temperature (PET) index was applied. Air quality was analyzed from the records of two air quality networks. More frequent and longer heat waves have been observed since 1980; the nocturnal CLUHI and both the diurnal and nocturnal SUHI experience an intensification, which have led to an increasing number of tropical nights. Conversely, thermal stress is extreme by day in the city due to the lack of cooling by winds. Finally, air quality during heat waves deteriorates because of the higher than normal amount of particles arriving from Northern Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Thermal Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
High-Resolution Simulations of the Urban Thermal Climate in Suzhou City, China
Atmosphere 2019, 10(3), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10030118 - 04 Mar 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1018
Abstract
City thermal discomfort conditions have been exacerbated by the rapid urbanization processes in China. High-resolution urban thermal climate simulations can help us to understand urban climate features and produce better urban designs. In this paper, a single-layer urban canopy model (UCM) combined with [...] Read more.
City thermal discomfort conditions have been exacerbated by the rapid urbanization processes in China. High-resolution urban thermal climate simulations can help us to understand urban climate features and produce better urban designs. In this paper, a single-layer urban canopy model (UCM) combined with Landsat satellite data and high-resolution meteorological forcing data was used to simulate very-high-resolution characteristics of temperature and humidity at the urban canopy level, and the heat index at the pedestrian level was also estimated. The research shows that the National center of environmental forecasting, Oregon state university, Air force and Hydrological research lab (NOAH)-UCM model can simulate the distribution of meteorological elements for different land uses in a fine and effective manner, making it an effective approach to obtaining the fundamental data for urban climate analysis. The spatial distribution pattern of urban heat islands in Suzhou is highly consistent with urban land cover fraction. High-density and medium-density urban areas are centers of urban heat islands, and the annual number of high-temperature days and heat indices over the high-density and medium-density urban areas are markedly higher than those in low-density cities and suburbs, indicating that urban development has a significant impact on the urban thermal environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Thermal Risk)
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