Climatic characteristics of summer human thermal discomfort in Athens and its connection to atmospheric circulation
The climate characteristics of summer human thermal discomfort in Athens and its connection to atmospheric circulation are studied for the period 1954–2012. The human thermal discomfort is examined in terms of the Predicted Mean Vote (PMV) discomfort index for calm and light wind (3 ms -1) conditions. Its inter-annual variability is characterised by a significant increase from the middle 1980s to the end of the study period. The onset and the cessation of the discomfort period are found to take place around the beginning of July and the end of August respectively, but from middle 1980s the dates of onset and cessation have slightly moved earlier and later, respectively, leading to a longer summer discomfort period. The connection between human thermal discomfort and atmospheric circulation is studied by examining the distribution of discomfort cases across six objectively defined circulation types over Europe, based on Athens weather characteristics. High values of the PMV discomfort index are mainly associated with two typical high-summer pressure patterns with the intensity of discomfort depending on the pressure gradient over the Aegean Sea. On the contrary, low PMV discomfort index values prevail mainly on days typified by the other four circulation types, which are more frequent during May, June, and September.