Quantification and evaluation of intra-urban heat-stress variability in Seoul, Korea

Abstract

This study quantifies heat-stress hazard (air temperature), vulnerability (heat vulnerability index and age score), and risk (heat-related mortality) on the district scale in Seoul, Korea, for a comprehensive heat-stress impact assessment. Moreover, the heat-stress impact assessment is evaluated by checking the spatial consistency between heat-stress hazard, vulnerability, and risk, which was rarely done before. We applied numerical and geo-empirical models to simulate the spatial pattern of heat-stress hazard. For heat-stress vulnerability, we used demographic and socioeconomic factors. Heat-related mortality was estimated based on an event-based heat-stress risk analysis. Results are that heat-stress hazard, vulnerability, and risk are spatially variable in Seoul. The highest heat-stress hazard was detected in the districts Mapo, Yeongdeungpo, and Yangcheon, the highest vulnerability in Jongno and the highest risk in Jongno and Yangcheon. The different components (heat-stress hazard, vulnerability, and risk) and variables (heat vulnerability index and percentage of seniors) showed different spatial patterns. Knowledge about the causes of higher heat-stress risk, either the hazard or vulnerability, is helpful to design tailored adaptation measures that focus on the reduction of thermal loads or on the preparation of the vulnerable population. The evaluation showed that heat-stress vulnerability and hazard explain the spatial pattern of risk only partly. This highlights the need to evaluate heat-stress impact assessment systems to produce reliable urban heat-stress maps.

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Funding

This research is supported by the “Research and Development for KMA Weather, Climate, and Earth System Services: Biometeorology” of the National Institute of Meteorological Sciences (NIMS) of the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) and part of the Research Unit 1736 “Urban Climate and Heat Stress in Mid-Latitude Cities in View of Climate Change (UCaHS)” (http://www.UCaHS.org) funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) under the codes SCHE 750/8-1 and SCHE 750/9-1.

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Correspondence to Britta Jänicke.

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Jänicke, B., Holtmann, A., Kim, K.R. et al. Quantification and evaluation of intra-urban heat-stress variability in Seoul, Korea. Int J Biometeorol 63, 1–12 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-018-1631-2

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Keywords

  • Heat-related mortality
  • Maps
  • Heat-stress impact assessment
  • Heat-stress vulnerability
  • Urban heat island
  • Evaluation