Environmental Management

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 766–775 | Cite as

The Occurrence of Unfavorable Thermal Conditions on Human Health in Central Europe and Potential Climate Change Impacts: An Example from Cracow, Poland

Article

Abstract

Progressive global warming exerts strong influence on the lives and on the health of urban residents, many of who are weather sensitive people (meteoropaths). In the temperate zone, air temperature changes largely determine the seasonal oscillation of morbidity and mortality frequency. The present study analyzes the influence of air temperature on living conditions in central European urban areas, particularly Cracow (Poland), and examines this influence against the background of climate change. During the warmer months, there is a noticeable increase in the unfavorable occurrence of especially strong thermal stimuli (e.g., hot days) which can lead to overheating of the human organism. On the other hand, the increasing frequency of mild winters contributes to the appearance of weak and moderate thermal stimuli, which in the case of the former, is a negative phenomenon. Weak thermal stimuli are liable to make the human body oversensitive and, thus lose the ability to adapt if stronger thermal stimuli were to occur. Residents of large urban areas should be prepared for the possibility of dynamic weather changes and should take thermal variability into consideration with regards to spatial urban planning and socioeconomic activities.

Keywords

Quality of life Climate change Heat waves Cold waves Health Urban planning Central Europe Poland Cracow 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ClimatologyJagiellonian University, Institute of Geography and Spatial ManagementCracowPoland

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