Spatial Patterns of Human Thermal Comfort Conditions in Russia: Present Climate and Trends
The assessment of bioclimatic conditions at the national scale remains a highly relevant task. It might be one of the main parts of the national strategy for the sustainable development of different regions under changing climatic conditions. This study evaluated the thermal comfort conditions and their changes in Russia according to gridded meteorological data from ERA-Interim reanalysis with a spatial resolution of 0.75o × 0.75o using the two most popular bioclimatic indices based on the human energy balance: physiologically equivalent temperature (PET) and universal thermal comfort index (UTCI). We analyzed the summer and winter means of these indices as well as the repeatability of different thermal stress grades for the current climatological standard normal period (1981–2010) and the trends of these parameters over the 1979–2018 period. We revealed the high diversity of the analyzed parameters in Russia as well as significant differences between the contemporary climate conditions and their changes in terms of mean temperature, mean values of bioclimatic indices, and thermal stress repeatability. Within the country, all degrees of thermal stress were possible; however, severe summer heat stress was rare, and in winter nearly the whole country experienced severe cold stress. Multidirectional changes in bioclimatic conditions were observed in Russia against the general background of climate warming. The European part of the country was most susceptible to climate change because it experiences significant changes both in summer and winter thermal stress repeatability. Intense Arctic warming was not reflected in significant changes in thermal stress repeatability.