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Climate change scenarios in use: heat stress in Switzerland

Abstract: Under hot conditions the human body is able to regulate its core temperature via sweat evaporation, but this ability is reduced when air humidity is high. These conditions of high temperature and high humidity invoke heat stress which is a major problem for humans, in particular for vulnerable groups of the population and people under physical stress (e.g. heavy duty work without appropriate cooling systems). It is generally expected that the frequency, duration and magnitude of such unfavorable conditions will increase with further climate warming. In this respect, climate services play a crucial role by putting together climatological information and adaptation solutions to reduce future heat stress. We here assess the recently developed CH2018 scenarios for Switzerland (https://www.climate-scenarios.ch) in terms of heat stress conditions including their future projections. For this purpose, we characterize future extreme heat conditions with the use of climate analogs. By doing so, we attempt to produce more accessible climate information which might foster the use and understanding of regional-scale climate scenarios. Here heat stress is expressed through the Wet Bulb Temperature (TW), which is a relatively simple proxy for heat stress on the human body and which depends non-linearly on temperature and humidity. It is assessed in terms of single-day events and heat stress spells. Projections based on the CH2018 scenarios indicate increasing heat stress over Switzerland, which is accentuated towards the end of the century. High heat stress conditions might be about 3?5 times more frequent for an emission scenario without mitigation (RCP 8.5) than for the mitigation scenario (RCP 2.6) by the end of the 21st century. The projected increase of heat stress results in more and longer heat stress spells, thus highlighting the importance of timely and precise prevention strategies in the context of heat-health action plans. Spatial climate analogs based on heat stress spells in Switzerland greatly vary depending on the emission scenario and are found in Central Europe under a mitigation scenario and in southern Europe under unmitigated warming.

 Fuente: Climate Services, 2023, 30, 100372

 Editorial: Elsevier B.V.

 Fecha de publicación: 01/04/2023

 Nº de páginas: 14

 Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1016/j.cliser.2023.100372

 ISSN: 2405-8807

 Proyecto español: TED2021-131334A-I00

 Url de la publicación: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cliser.2023.100372