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Heat stress increase under climate change twice as large in cities as in rural areas : a study for a densely populated midlatitude maritime region

(2017) GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS. 44(17). p.8997-9007
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Abstract
Urban areas are usually warmer than their surrounding natural areas, an effect known as the urban heat island effect. As such, they are particularly vulnerable to global warming and associated increases in extreme temperatures. Yet ensemble climate-model projections are generally performed on a scale that is too coarse to represent the evolution of temperatures in cities. Here, for the first time, we combine unprecedented long-term (35years) urban climate model integrations at the convection-permitting scale (2.8km resolution) with information from an ensemble of general circulation models to assess temperature-based heat stress for Belgium, a densely populated midlatitude maritime region. We discover that the heat stress increase toward the mid-21st century is twice as large in cities compared to their surrounding rural areas. The exacerbation is driven by the urban heat island itself, its concurrence with heat waves, and urban expansion. Cities experience a heat stress multiplication by a factor 1.4 and 15 depending on the scenario. Remarkably, the future heat stress surpasses everywhere the urban hot spots of today. Our results demonstrate the need to combine information from climate models, acting on different scales, for climate change risk assessment in heterogeneous regions. Moreover, these results highlight the necessity for adaptation to increasing heat stress, especially in urban areas.
Keywords
EXTREME TEMPERATURES, ISLAND INTENSITY, THERMAL COMFORT, EURO-CORDEX, COSMO-CLM, URBAN, MODEL, IMPACT, MORTALITY, SUMMER

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Chicago
Wouters, Hendrik, Koen De Ridder, Lien Poelmans, Patrick Willems, Johan Brouwers, Parisa Hosseinzadehtalaei, Hossein Tabari, Sam Vanden Broucke, Nicole PM van Lipzig, and Matthias Demuzere. 2017. “Heat Stress Increase Under Climate Change Twice as Large in Cities as in Rural Areas : a Study for a Densely Populated Midlatitude Maritime Region.” Geophysical Research Letters 44 (17): 8997–9007.
APA
Wouters, Hendrik, De Ridder, K., Poelmans, L., Willems, P., Brouwers, J., Hosseinzadehtalaei, P., Tabari, H., et al. (2017). Heat stress increase under climate change twice as large in cities as in rural areas : a study for a densely populated midlatitude maritime region. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 44(17), 8997–9007.
Vancouver
1.
Wouters H, De Ridder K, Poelmans L, Willems P, Brouwers J, Hosseinzadehtalaei P, et al. Heat stress increase under climate change twice as large in cities as in rural areas : a study for a densely populated midlatitude maritime region. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS. 2017;44(17):8997–9007.
MLA
Wouters, Hendrik, Koen De Ridder, Lien Poelmans, et al. “Heat Stress Increase Under Climate Change Twice as Large in Cities as in Rural Areas : a Study for a Densely Populated Midlatitude Maritime Region.” GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS 44.17 (2017): 8997–9007. Print.
@article{8531076,
  abstract     = {Urban areas are usually warmer than their surrounding natural areas, an effect known as the urban heat island effect. As such, they are particularly vulnerable to global warming and associated increases in extreme temperatures. Yet ensemble climate-model projections are generally performed on a scale that is too coarse to represent the evolution of temperatures in cities. Here, for the first time, we combine unprecedented long-term (35years) urban climate model integrations at the convection-permitting scale (2.8km resolution) with information from an ensemble of general circulation models to assess temperature-based heat stress for Belgium, a densely populated midlatitude maritime region. We discover that the heat stress increase toward the mid-21st century is twice as large in cities compared to their surrounding rural areas. The exacerbation is driven by the urban heat island itself, its concurrence with heat waves, and urban expansion. Cities experience a heat stress multiplication by a factor 1.4 and 15 depending on the scenario. Remarkably, the future heat stress surpasses everywhere the urban hot spots of today. Our results demonstrate the need to combine information from climate models, acting on different scales, for climate change risk assessment in heterogeneous regions. Moreover, these results highlight the necessity for adaptation to increasing heat stress, especially in urban areas.},
  author       = {Wouters, Hendrik and De~Ridder, Koen and Poelmans, Lien and Willems, Patrick and Brouwers, Johan and Hosseinzadehtalaei, Parisa and Tabari, Hossein and Vanden~Broucke, Sam and van~Lipzig, Nicole PM and Demuzere, Matthias},
  issn         = {0094-8276},
  journal      = {GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS},
  keyword      = {EXTREME TEMPERATURES,ISLAND INTENSITY,THERMAL COMFORT,EURO-CORDEX,COSMO-CLM,URBAN,MODEL,IMPACT,MORTALITY,SUMMER},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {17},
  pages        = {8997--9007},
  title        = {Heat stress increase under climate change twice as large in cities as in rural areas : a study for a densely populated midlatitude maritime region},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2017gl074889},
  volume       = {44},
  year         = {2017},
}

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