Also hot at night – vicious circle of heat: the city no longer cools down

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Temperature records tumble in Vienna. But that is only one side of the coin. Because a closer look at the measurement data shows that the heat is also taking fewer and fewer breaks.

The fact that new record temperatures are constantly being measured around the world has become almost commonplace. And yet that is only half the story when it comes to the effects of heat on people and the environment. An accurate data analysis by the Central Institute of Meteorology/Geosphere for the “Krone” and a look at the statistics of the city of Vienna show: There were record temperatures in the past – but also cooler breaks. Now almost only the records remain.

Temperature records during the day are not everything
Meteorologists calculate in “climate normal periods” of 30 years each. If you look at the beginning of the previous period, in the year 1961, everything does not seem so bad at first sight: even then the highest temperature measured was 33.7 degrees Celsius. However, the temperature drop during the night was 10.6 degrees (see graph on the right) and the organism was able to recover.

Nights can no longer make up for days
Simply put, the temperature rises while the fall remains relatively constant at night. This means that even the highest temperature drop ever recorded of 12.4 degrees (in 2015) could no longer ‘fight’ the heat during the day. Statistically, until the 1980s in Vienna there was only one tropical night in July every two years, ie a night when the temperature did not fall below 20 degrees.

The average in July is now 4.2 tropical nights per year, more than eight times that number. The data refer to the Hohe Warte measuring station, where temperatures are always well below those of the densely built-up urban area. Hobby meteorologists in the city usually measure twice as many tropical nights as the Hohe Warte.

According to calculations per geosphere, even if the climate targets of Paris are met, there will still be five warm days a year – and therefore also tropical nights – for Vienna. However, another calculation is becoming more and more realistic: without climate protection measures, Vienna will experience an average of 47 warm days per year in the future

Source: Krone

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