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Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 503803
Title Projection of rural and urban human thermal comfort in the Netherlands for 2050: a methodology
Author(s) Steeneveld, G.J.; Molenaar, Roy; Heusinkveld, B.G.
Event 4th International Climate Change Adaptation Conference, 10-13 May, 2016, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 2016-05-10/2016-05-13
Department(s) Meteorology and Air Quality
Publication type Abstract in scientific journal or proceedings
Publication year 2016
Abstract Research question: This study investigates the research questions:
- Can we develop a methodology to quantify future human thermal comfort?
- By how much will the abundance of adverse human thermal comfort increase in 2050 in The Netherlands?
- Can the trend in adverse human thermal comfort be moderated by urban design, using aspect ratio and
urban vegetation as tools?
Methodology: This study analyses the future human thermal comfort for both coastal and inland Dutch cities
and countryside. The future conditions are based on the KNMI-06 climate scenarios. Using these scenarios,
observed weather data from 1976-2005 are transformed to future weather design data representative for
2050. Subsequently, human thermal comfort expressed in the Physiological Equivalent Temperature (PET) is
estimated for these future scenarios.
Findings: A substantial increase of heat stress abundance is foreseen in all climate scenarios, for both urban
and rural areas, particularly under the most intense warming. In these scenarios, the frequency of hours with
heat stress more than double, and the increase will develop faster in an urban canyon than in rural areas. In
urban areas PET shows a maximum as function sky-view factor, i.e. for a smaller sky-view factor a wind speed
reduction increases the PET on one hand, and shading reduces the PET on the other hand.
Significance for practical solutions: Heat stress is a leading cause of weather-related human mortality and
morbidity, and reduced labour productivity. As temperatures are projected to increase due to climate change,
the human thermal comfort is expected to worsen. In The Netherlands, the excess mortality can rise to 12%
during heat waves, corresponding to about 30 additional deaths per day and per Kelvin above the
climatological mean temperature. Here, we quantify the current and future human thermal comfort in the
Netherlands that practitioneers can use as benchmark in their work. Also, the impact of interventions in
urban design on themal comfort are quantified.
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