Review of Biometeorology of Heatwaves and Warm Extremes in Europe

Author: Basarin, B., Lukić, T., Andreas Matzarakis

Year: 2020

Published in: Atmosphere

Abstract: Numerous extreme heatwaves producing large impacts on human health, agriculture, water resources, energy demand, regional economies, and forest ecosystems occurred during the first twenty years of the 21st century. The present study strives to provide a systematic review of recent studies of warm biometeorological extremes in Europe. The main aim of this paper is to provide a methodical summary of the observed changes in warm extremes, duration, and variability in different parts of Europe. During the last decade, much attention has been paid to the negative impacts of heat and humidity on human health. Therefore, the human biometeorology is required to appraise the human thermal environment in a way that human thermoregulation is taken into account. In many European countries and regions, future heat exposure will indeed exceed critical levels, and a steep increase in biometeorological heatwaves and warm extremes are expected. The indices that take into account human energy balance along with weather conditions should be used to examine the impacts of extreme heatwaves on human health and should be used as a basis for the determination of acclimatization to high-heat-stress conditions. A detailed description of recent studies that have used biometeorological indices such as Physiological Equivalent Temperature (PET) and Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI) for the estimation of warm extremes and their influence on human health is provided. Additionally, a short overview of the existence of the heat-health warning systems (HHWS), their conceptualization, and implementation across the European continent is considered, as well as the possibilities for further investigations and implementation of effective measures and programs that could reduce the adverse health impacts