During the LIFE ASTI project a city-specific relationship between maximum apparent temperature and daily mortality of vulnerable population groups (e.g. elderly) will be applied before (2014-2017) and after (2018-2021) the application of the heat health warning systems.
Strengthening of our capacity to adapt to a changing climate requires addressing the issue of the UHI effect and its relevant impacts, especially on human mortality. Hence, the implementation of operational UHI forecasting systems and the effective dissemination of focused information with the use of ICT tools is an imperative need. Within this context, atmospheric models can be a valuable tool for providing accurate spatiotemporal information with a high level of detail on UHI effect and assisting the application of heat health warning systems.
The development, pilot operation, and validation of UHI forecasting systems, combined with heat health warning systems, is the primary target of LIFE ASTI. Τhe provided information will contain high resolution UHI-related forecasting products, including thermal bioclimate indices and Heating/Cooling Degree Days (HDD/CDD) to estimate the energy demand of buildings, as well as heat health warnings in each involved city. Such information allows environmental protection, heat-related deaths prevention and sustainable urban development, in accordance with the LIFE Regulation (Regulation (EU) No. 1293/2013) and the objectives of EU Commission Communication An EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change (COM/2013/0216).
Also, it is important the distribution of the information mentioned above to be provided through open access ICT tools anticipating the implementation of EU Directive 2003/4/EC on public access to environmental information.
High spatial level warnings within the urban area of Rome will be built on the existing warning system in place and make use of the information and dissemination network. Public health systems, emergency services, civil protection, social services, GPs and users are included, while communication and information will be more capillary. Concerning Thessaloniki, the project will assist in the optimization of the municipal civil protection plan which currently foresees actions in case of extreme heat wave alerts. These alerts follow a top-down approach, as they are initialized by the Ministry of Health based on National Weather Service forecasts. The LIFE ASTI project reverses this approach and introduces an added value, as the direct end-user of the heat health warnings will be provided to the Municipality on a daily basis and not only in cases of heat waves.