Climate change and summer thermal comfort in China
Heat escape-motivated travel, called “sunbird” tourism, has become increasingly important with global warming and associated urban heat island effects. This study proposes a new method based on defining “comfortable” calendar days, to identify regions thermally suitable for “sunbird” tourism (namely northern Northeast China, eastern Inner Mongolia Plateau, northern Xinjiang Province, eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and Yungui Plateau) and their comfortable periods in China. From 1961–1990 to 1987–2016, comfortable periods have extended by 5 to over 20 days in eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and parts of Yungui Plateau, but shortened by 5 to over 20 days in northern Northeast China and eastern Inner Mongolia Plateau, corresponding to 9 and 21 locations respectively becoming suitable and no longer suitable for “sunbird” tourism. Moreover, comfortable periods are now much earlier in the eastern Inner Mongolia Plateau and have dramatically altered in terms of their temporal distribution over the eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Finally, we discuss the implications for tourism.
Qinqin Kong is funded by the China Scholarship Council (No. 201604910868); Jingyun Zheng is funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41671036); Hayley J. Fowler is funded by the European Research Council Grant, INTENSE (ERC-2013-CoG-617329).
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