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Tracking Compound Heat and Humidity Impacts

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Compounds of high humidity and heat are deadly. With our changing climate an increasing proportion of the world’s land surface is being exposed to higher temperatures and humidity, with this rise being faster in populated areas. One metric to measure heat stress, a rise in body heat as the result of external environment and exertion is Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) the International Organization’s occupational health metric. However, Wet Bulb Globe Temperature is often not observed at a meteorological station because of a key instrument – a globe thermometer being expensive to purchase and in local cases often being stolen from sites. This led to several approximations being developed, with differing levels of accuracy. In this talk, I will discuss a new method developed for numerical weather prediction models to produce accurate WBGT measurements. I will then discuss gaps within literature for WBGT and biases that exist within the literature. Before, discussing how we are applying the new WBGT data to research such as heat related child mortality and our developments in comparing WBGT heatwaves to temperature heatwaves through a heatwave algorithm. Finally, I will discuss how this WBGT data could be applied to energy systems and chances for future avenues of research.


Dr Chloe Brimicombe is a post-doctoral researcher in the Social Complexity and System Transformation Research Group at the Wegener Center, University of Graz, Austria and visiting fellow at the London School of Economic and Public Policy. She is a Climate Scientist and Extreme Heat Researcher focused on heat impacts such as those on pregnant women and children’s health. She previously helped to develop thermal comfort indices for the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts Numerical Weather Prediction Products.

This talk is part of the Energy and Environment Group, Department of CST series.

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