Publication Details
Sara Top, Steven Caluwaerts, Lesley De Cruz, Rafiq Hamdi

Contribution To Conference


Climate models project more frequent and more severe heat waves under the ongoing global climate change, but to which extent will this impact our future perceived thermal conditions? Little research has been conducted on the long-term changes in outdoor thermal comfort (OTC) under global warming. After validating the modelled Universal Thermal Climate Indices (UTCI) with ERA5-HEAT data, the past and future UTCI have been determined based on hourly data of the regional climate model ALARO-0 for 58 densely populated Eurasian locations from 1976 up to 2100 under the low (RCP2.6), medium (RCP4.5) and very high (RCP8.5) emission scenarios. Personal factors such as activity, clothing insulation, weight and age were kept constant over time, to only include the influence of changing climatic conditions. For all locations a higher level of global warming will trigger a more pronounced shift towards hotter conditions. It is therefore expected that human health heat thresholds will be exceeded more frequently. Similar as for the absolute change in temperature, the largest future OTC changes were found for the high latitude locations, e.g. Novy Urengoy (Russia), with a remarkable reduction in cold stress. Further, the added value of hourly climate data, both during the validation and the future evolution of the UTCI, will be shown based on diurnal cycle graphs. Despite the interesting regional insights of this study, the spatial resolutions of the current regional climate data don’t allow to study the urban-rural and intra-urban differences. This shows the need for the creation of regional climate and OTC data at higher spatial resolutions. A strategy to create such data will be briefly presented.