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European summer wet-bulb temperature: spatiotemporal variations and potential drivers

Ma, Q., Chen, Y. ORCID: and Ionita, M. (2024) European summer wet-bulb temperature: spatiotemporal variations and potential drivers. Journal of Climate. ISSN 1520-0442 (In Press)

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-23-0420.1


Heat stress is projected to intensify with global warming, causing significant socioeconomic impacts and threatening human health. Wet-bulb temperature (WBT), which combines temperature and humidity effects, is a useful indicator for assessing regional and global heat stress variability and trends. However, the variations of European WBT and their underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Using observations and reanalysis datasets, we demonstrate a remarkable warming of summer WBT during the period 1958-2021 over Europe. Specifically, the European summer WBT has increased by over 1.0 °C in the past 64 years. We find that the increase in European summer WBT is driven by both near-surface warming temperatures and increasing atmospheric moisture content. We identify four dominant modes of European summer WBT variability and investigate their linkage with the large-scale atmospheric circulation and sea surface temperature anomalies. The first two leading modes of the European WBT variability exhibit prominent interdecadal to long-term variations, mainly driven by a circumglobal wave train and concurrent sea surface temperature variations. The last two leading modes of European WBT variability mainly show interannual variations, indicating a direct and rapid response to large-scale atmospheric dynamics and nearby sea surface temperature variations. Further analysis shows the role of global warming and changes in mid-latitude circulations in the variations of summer WBT. Our findings can enhance the understanding of plausible drivers of heat stress in Europe and provide valuable insights for regional decision-makers and climate adaptation planning.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:114822
Uncontrolled Keywords:Atmospheric Science
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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