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Verification of Heat Stress Thresholds for a Health-Based Heat-Wave Definition
Univ Reading, Dept Geog & Environm Sci, Reading, Berks, England.
European Ctr Medium Range Weather Forecasts, Forecast Dept, Reading, Berks, England.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL. Univ Reading, Dept Geog & Environm Sci, Reading, Berks, England;Univ Reading, Dept Meteorol, Reading, Berks, England; Ctr Nat Hazards & Disaster Sci, Uppsala, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1472-868X
2019 (English)In: Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, ISSN 1558-8424, E-ISSN 1558-8432, Vol. 58, no 6, p. 1177-1194Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Heat waves represent a threat to human health and excess mortality is one of the associated negative effects. A health-based definition for heat waves is therefore relevant, especially for early warning purposes, and it is here investigated via the universal thermal climate index (UTCI). The UTCI is a bioclimate index elaborated via an advanced model of human thermoregulation that estimates the thermal stress induced by air temperature, wind speed, moisture, and radiation on the human physiology. Using France as a test bed, the UTCI was computed from meteorological reanalysis data to assess the thermal stress conditions associated with heat-attributable excess mortality in five cities. UTCI values at different climatological percentiles were defined and evaluated in their ability to identify periods of excess mortality (PEMs) over 24 years. Using verification metrics such as the probability of detection (POD), the false alarm ratio (FAR), and the frequency bias (FB), daily minimum and maximum heat stress levels equal to or above corresponding UTCI 95th percentiles (15 degrees +/- 2 degrees C and 34.5 degrees +/- 1.5 degrees C, respectively) for 3 consecutive days are demonstrated to correlate to PEMs with the highest sensitivity and specificity (0.69 <= POD <= 1, 0.19 <= FAR <= 0.46, 1 <= FB <= 1.48) than minimum, maximum, and mean heat stress level singularly and other bioclimatological percentiles. This finding confirms the detrimental effect of prolonged, unusually high heat stress at day- and nighttime and suggests the UTCI 95th percentile as a health-meaningful threshold for a potential heat-health watch warning system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
AMER METEOROLOGICAL SOC , 2019. Vol. 58, no 6, p. 1177-1194
Keywords [en]
Extreme events, Climatology, Indices, Risk assessment, Forecast verification, skill, Biosphere-atmosphere interaction
National Category
Physical Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-386436DOI: 10.1175/JAMC-D-18-0246.1ISI: 000469404300001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-386436DiVA, id: diva2:1327984
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 700099Available from: 2019-06-20 Created: 2019-06-20 Last updated: 2019-06-20Bibliographically approved

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