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The 2 °C global warming effect on summer European tourism through different indices

Abstract

Climate and weather patterns are an essential resource for outdoor tourism activities. The projected changes in climate and weather patterns are expected to affect the future state of tourism. The present study aims to quantify the positive or negative effect of a 2 °C global warming on summertime climate comfort in the sense of exercising activities that involve light body activity. The well-established Climate Index for Tourism (CIT) and three variants of the widely used Tourism Climatic Index (TCI) were analyzed. Additionally, a new index based on TCI and CIT was tested and compared against the precious indices. Past and future climate data of five high-resolution regional climate models (RCMs) from different Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) of the European Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (Euro-CORDEX) for a +2 °C period were used. The results indicate improvement in the climate comfort for the majority of European areas for the May to October period. For the June to August period, central and northern European areas are projected to improve, while marginal improvement is found for Mediterranean countries. Furthermore, in specific cases of adjacent Mediterranean areas such as the southern Iberian Peninsula, the June to August climate favorability is projected to reduce as a result of the increase to daytime temperature. The use of a set of different indices and different RCMs and RCPs samples a large fraction of the uncertainty that is crucial for providing robust regional impact information due to climate change. The analysis revealed the similarities and the differences in the magnitude of change across the different indices. Moreover, discrepancies were found in the results of different concentration pathways to the +2 °C global warming, with the RCP8.5 projecting more significant changes for some of the analyzed indices. The estimation of the TCI using different timescale climate data did not change the results on tourism significantly.

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Acknowledgments

The research received funding from the IMPACT2C project of the European Union Seventh Framework Programme 2007–2013 under grant agreement no. 282746. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Regional Climate and the Working Group on Coupled Modelling, former coordinating body of CORDEX and responsible panel for CMIP5. We also thank the climate modeling groups (listed in Table S4 of the Electronic Supplementary material) for producing and making available their model output. We also acknowledge the Earth System Grid Federation infrastructure, an international effort led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison; the European Network for Earth System Modelling; and other partners in the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals (GO-ESSP).

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Correspondence to Manolis G. Grillakis.

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Grillakis, M.G., Koutroulis, A.G. & Tsanis, I.K. The 2 °C global warming effect on summer European tourism through different indices. Int J Biometeorol 60, 1205–1215 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-015-1115-6

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Keywords

  • Tourism Climatic Index (TCI)
  • Climate Index for Tourism (CIT)
  • Climate change
  • Two degrees
  • Europe