Survivability under Overheating - The Impact of Regional and Global Climate Change on Vulnerable and Low Income Population

A special issue of Climate (ISSN 2225-1154).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2020) | Viewed by 185090

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Guest Editor
Faculty of the Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
Interests: innovative materials; urban climate change and heat mitigation technologies; energy-efficient buildings; sustainable energy technologies and energy saving technologies in buildings and settlements
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Faculty of Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Room 2045, Red Center, West Wing, NSW 2052, Australia
Interests: indoor environmental quality; urban heat island mitigation; urban microclimate; social housing; energy poverty; thermal comfort; indoor air quality; building energy efficiency; public health; post-occupancy evaluation
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Sustainable Building Innovation Lab, School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, 124 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
Interests: urban microclimate; urban heat island; mitigation and adaptation; energy performance and benchmarking; indoor environmental quality
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Urban overheating is a serious problem for the whole world. Although the so-called urban heat island phenomenon has been known for more than 100 years, the rapid urbanization combined with a continuous increase of the produced and released anthropogenic heat in cities has intensified the magnitude of the phenomenon and aggravated the impact on energy, the environment, comfort, and health. In addition, global climate change, causing an important increase in the frequency, magnitude, and duration of extreme heat events, seems to intensify the magnitude of the UHI phenomenon, especially during the period of heat waves because of the important synergetic effects.

Energy poverty refers to the conditions where households are not able to cover their basic energy needs. Energy poverty is very strongly related to energy conditions and characteristics and the local climate change. Houses of low energy quality, not well protected and presenting a high energy consumption, are a serious burden for low-income populations, as the required budget to satisfy proper indoor temperature conditions is usually high and cannot be afforded by the family income. In parallel, it is well known that low-income populations mainly live in quite deprived and degraded urban areas, where the phenomenon of the urban heat island is quite strong. Higher summer outdoor temperatures increase the vulnerability of the low-income population and put their health conditions under stress.

The development of appropriate mitigation and adaptation technologies to upgrade the environmental and climatic conditions in deprived urban zones and improve the energy performance and indoor environmental quality of low-income households seems to be the most important technological response to the problem.

The proposed Special Issue aims to cover the following subjects :

  • Surveys and experimental data from low-income households during overheating conditions;
  • Survivability analysis under current and future conditions for low-income households;
  • Energy poverty data and analysis;
  • Energy, health, comfort, IAQ, and economic issues related to overheated households;
  • Development and implementation of appropriate mitigation technologies for deprived urban areas;
  • Development and implementation of advanced low-cost adaptation technologies and strategies for low-income houses;
  • Analysis of the interaction and impact of global and regional climate change in deprived urban zones;
  • Case studies on mitigation and adaptation policies to alleviate energy poverty;
  • Energy market transformation and policies that influence energy poverty;
  • Case studies on the use of renewable technologies by low-income populations;
  • Global challenges for the future: Energy security, climate change, and energy poverty;
  • Thermal adaptation and physiology of acclimation in low-income populations during overheating conditions.

Dr. Afroditi Synnefa
Dr. Shamila Haddad
Dr. Priya Rajagopalan
Prof. Matthaios Santamouris
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • energy poverty and climatic change
  • vulnerable urban population survivability
  • mitigation and adaptation of buildings
  • social aspects of urban poverty
  • future climatic projections and impact on low-income populations

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 167 KiB  
Editorial
SI: Survivability under Overheating: The Impact of Regional and Global Climate Change on the Vulnerable and Low-Income Population
by Afroditi Synnefa, Shamila Haddad, Priyadarsini Rajagopalan and Mattheos Santamouris
Climate 2020, 8(11), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli8110122 - 24 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3049
Abstract
The present special issue discusses three significant challenges of the built environment, namely regional and global climate change, vulnerability, and survivability under the changing climate. Synergies between local climate change, energy consumption of buildings and energy poverty, and health risks highlight the necessity [...] Read more.
The present special issue discusses three significant challenges of the built environment, namely regional and global climate change, vulnerability, and survivability under the changing climate. Synergies between local climate change, energy consumption of buildings and energy poverty, and health risks highlight the necessity to develop mitigation strategies to counterbalance overheating impacts. The studies presented here assess the underlying issues related to urban overheating. Further, the impacts of temperature extremes on the low-income population and increased morbidity and mortality have been discussed. The increasing intensity, duration, and frequency of heatwaves due to human-caused climate change is shown to affect underserved populations. Thus, housing policies on resident exposure to intra-urban heat have been assessed. Finally, opportunities to mitigate urban overheating have been proposed and discussed. Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial

29 pages, 15454 KiB  
Article
Canopy Urban Heat Island and Its Association with Climate Conditions in Dubai, UAE
by Afifa Mohammed, Gloria Pignatta, Evangelia Topriska and Mattheos Santamouris
Climate 2020, 8(6), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli8060081 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 6425
Abstract
The impact that climate change and urbanization are having on the thermal-energy balance of the built environment is a major environmental concern today. Urban heat island (UHI) is another phenomenon that can raise the temperature in cities. This study aims to examine the [...] Read more.
The impact that climate change and urbanization are having on the thermal-energy balance of the built environment is a major environmental concern today. Urban heat island (UHI) is another phenomenon that can raise the temperature in cities. This study aims to examine the UHI magnitude and its association with the main meteorological parameters (i.e., temperature, wind speed, and wind direction) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Five years of hourly weather data (2014–2018) obtained from weather stations located in an urban, suburban, and rural area, were post-processed by means of a clustering technique. Six clusters characterized by different ranges of wind directions were analyzed. The analysis reveals that UHI is affected by the synoptic weather conditions (i.e., sea breeze and hot air coming from the desert) and is larger at night. In the urban area, air temperature and night-time UHI intensity, averaged on the five year period, are 1.3 °C and 3.3 °C higher with respect to the rural area, respectively, and the UHI and air temperature are independent of each other only when the wind comes from the desert. A negative and inverse correlation was found between the UHI and wind speed for all the wind directions, except for the northern wind where no correlation was observed. In the suburban area, the UHI and both temperatures and wind speed ranged between the strong and a weak negative correlation considering all the wind directions, while a strong negative correlation was observed in the rural area. This paper concludes that UHI intensity is strongly associated with local climatic parameters and to the changes in wind direction. Full article
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17 pages, 5041 KiB  
Article
On the Efficiency of Using Transpiration Cooling to Mitigate Urban Heat
by Kai Gao, Mattheos Santamouris and Jie Feng
Climate 2020, 8(6), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli8060069 - 1 Jun 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4123
Abstract
Trees are considered to be effective for the mitigation of urban overheating, and the cooling capacity of trees mainly comes from two mechanisms: transpiration and shading. This study explores the transpiration cooling of large trees in urban environments where the sea breeze dominates [...] Read more.
Trees are considered to be effective for the mitigation of urban overheating, and the cooling capacity of trees mainly comes from two mechanisms: transpiration and shading. This study explores the transpiration cooling of large trees in urban environments where the sea breeze dominates the climate. In the experiment, sap flow sensors were used to measure the transpiration rate of two large trees located in Sydney over one year. Also, the temperature difference between the inside and outside of the canopy, as well as the vertical temperature distribution below the canopy, were measured during summer. In this experiment, the temperature under the canopies decreased by about 0.5 degrees from a 0.5 m height to a 3.5 m height, and the maximum temperature difference between the inside and outside of the canopy was about 2 degrees. After applying a principal component analysis of multiple variables, we found that when a strong sea breeze is the primary cooling mechanism, the sap flow still makes a considerable contribution to cooling. Further, the sea breeze and the transpiration cooling of trees are complementary. In conclusion, the characteristics of synoptic conditions must be fully considered when planting trees for mitigation purposes. Since the patterns of sea breeze and sap often do not coincide, the transpiration cooling of trees is still effective when the area is dominated by sea breeze. Full article
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9 pages, 1107 KiB  
Article
Probability Risk of Heat- and Cold-Related Mortality to Temperature, Gender, and Age Using GAM Regression Analysis
by Andri Pyrgou and Mattheos Santamouris
Climate 2020, 8(3), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli8030040 - 11 Mar 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4173
Abstract
We have examined the heat and cold-related mortality risk subject to cold and heat extremes by using a generalized additive model (GAM) regression technique to quantify the effect of the stimulus of mortality in the presence of covariate data for 2007–2014 in Nicosia, [...] Read more.
We have examined the heat and cold-related mortality risk subject to cold and heat extremes by using a generalized additive model (GAM) regression technique to quantify the effect of the stimulus of mortality in the presence of covariate data for 2007–2014 in Nicosia, Cyprus. The use of the GAM technique with multiple linear regression allowed for the continuous covariates of temperature and diurnal temperature range (DTR) to be modeled as smooth functions and the lag period was considered to relate mortality to lagged values of temperature. Our findings indicate that the previous three days’ temperatures were strongly predictive of mortality. The mortality risk decreased as the minimum temperature (Tmin) increased from the coldest days to a certain threshold temperature about 20–21°C (different for each age group and gender), above which the mortality risk increased as Tmin increased. The investigated fixed factors analysis showed an insignificant association of gender-mortality, whereas the age-mortality association showed that the population over 80 was more vulnerable to temperature variations. It was recommended that the minimum mortality temperature is calculated using the minimum daily temperatures because it has a stronger correlation to the probability for risk of mortality. It is still undetermined as to what degree a change in existing climatic conditions will increase the environmental stress to humans as the population is acclimatized to different climates with different threshold temperatures and minimum mortality temperatures. Full article
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15 pages, 2286 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Historical Housing Policies on Resident Exposure to Intra-Urban Heat: A Study of 108 US Urban Areas
by Jeremy S. Hoffman, Vivek Shandas and Nicholas Pendleton
Climate 2020, 8(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli8010012 - 13 Jan 2020
Cited by 381 | Viewed by 161353
Abstract
The increasing intensity, duration, and frequency of heat waves due to human-caused climate change puts historically underserved populations in a heightened state of precarity, as studies observe that vulnerable communities—especially those within urban areas in the United States—are disproportionately exposed to extreme heat. [...] Read more.
The increasing intensity, duration, and frequency of heat waves due to human-caused climate change puts historically underserved populations in a heightened state of precarity, as studies observe that vulnerable communities—especially those within urban areas in the United States—are disproportionately exposed to extreme heat. Lacking, however, are insights into fundamental questions about the role of historical housing policies in cauterizing current exposure to climate inequities like intra-urban heat. Here, we explore the relationship between “redlining”, or the historical practice of refusing home loans or insurance to whole neighborhoods based on a racially motivated perception of safety for investment, with present-day summertime intra-urban land surface temperature anomalies. Through a spatial analysis of 108 urban areas in the United States, we ask two questions: (1) how do historically redlined neighborhoods relate to current patterns of intra-urban heat? and (2) do these patterns vary by US Census Bureau region? Our results reveal that 94% of studied areas display consistent city-scale patterns of elevated land surface temperatures in formerly redlined areas relative to their non-redlined neighbors by as much as 7 °C. Regionally, Southeast and Western cities display the greatest differences while Midwest cities display the least. Nationally, land surface temperatures in redlined areas are approximately 2.6 °C warmer than in non-redlined areas. While these trends are partly attributable to the relative preponderance of impervious land cover to tree canopy in these areas, which we also examine, other factors may also be driving these differences. This study reveals that historical housing policies may, in fact, be directly responsible for disproportionate exposure to current heat events. Full article
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20 pages, 3716 KiB  
Article
Retrospective Analysis of Summer Temperature Anomalies with the Use of Precipitation and Evapotranspiration Rates
by Andri Pyrgou, Mattheos Santamouris, Iro Livada and Constantinos Cartalis
Climate 2019, 7(9), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7090104 - 30 Aug 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4296
Abstract
Drought and extreme temperatures forecasting is important for water management and the prevention of health risks, especially in a period of observed climatic change. A large precipitation deficit together with increased evapotranspiration rates in the preceding days contribute to exceptionally high temperature anomalies [...] Read more.
Drought and extreme temperatures forecasting is important for water management and the prevention of health risks, especially in a period of observed climatic change. A large precipitation deficit together with increased evapotranspiration rates in the preceding days contribute to exceptionally high temperature anomalies in the summer above the average local maximum temperature for each month. Using a retrospective approach, this study investigated droughts and extreme temperatures in the greater area of Nicosia, Cyprus and suggests a different approach in determining the lag period of summer temperature anomalies and precipitation. In addition, dry conditions defined with the use of the Standardized Precipitation-Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) were associated with positive temperature anomalies at a percentage up to 33.7%. The compound effect of precipitation levels and evapotranspiration rates of the preceding days for the period 1988–2017 to summer temperature anomalies was demonstrated with significantly statistical R squared values up to 0.57. Furthermore, the cooling effect of precipitation was higher and prolonged longer in rural and suburban than urban areas, a fact that is directly related to the evaporation potential of the area in concern. Our work demonstrates the compound effect of precipitation levels and evapotranspiration rates of the preceding days to summer temperature anomalies. Full article
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