The Evaluation of Summer Beaching Conditions on the Baltic Sea Coasts Using the UTCI Index

By Justas Kažys and Ieva Malūnavičiūtė.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: December 3, 2015 $US5.00

The Baltic Sea coasts hold huge potential for summer beaching in the 21st century. The appropriate temperature and precipitation regime are prior to Mediterranean Sea climatic conditions which become too hot with regular heat waves in summer. The originally designed method allows to evaluate more “precise” UTCI values (in °C) using averaged monthly data of meteorological variables (air temperature, humidity, wind velocity, cloudiness, and atmospheric pressure) instead of daily values. The evaluation in this paper covers the period from 1980 to 2009. Only the summer beaching period (May–September) was analysed. The initial data was taken from the European Climate Assessment & Dataset project database. The monthly reanalysis fields of meteorological variables were used for covering the Baltic Sea coasts and adjacent territories (180 grid points). The UTCI values were obtained using BioKlima version 2.6 software. The UTCI values were visualized using ArcGIS 10.2 version software. The evaluation period was divided into two parts (1980–1994 and 1995–2009). The results showed that the temporal and spatial changes are already happening on the coastline. The UTCI values became higher in almost the entire perimeter of the Baltic Sea coastline and the warming process included every summer month. The whole Baltic Sea coastline corresponds to comfortable conditions (UTCI >9°C) of the UTCI categorization from May to August. Only in September did conditions become less comfortable. However, the real “thermal comfort zone” conditions (UTCI >17.5°C) on the Baltic Sea coasts last from the middle of June until the middle of August. The southern part is significantly warmer compared to other parts in May and September, while the UTCI values are more similar over the other summer months.

Keywords: UTCI, Baltic Sea, Climate Change, Summer Tourism

International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 7, Issue 4, December 2015, pp.41-59. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: December 3, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.349MB)).

Dr. Justas Kažys

Associate Professor, Department of Hydrology and Climatology, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Vilnius, Lithuania

Ieva Malūnavičiūtė

Master's Student, Department of Hydrology and Climatology, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Vilnius, Lithuania


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