Conference Abstracts

UNIFI, Italy

22-24 May 2019, Varsaw, Poland

1st European Biometeorologist Regional Meeting

Biometeorological forecast chain to develop thermal comfort/discomfort maps for Italy according to the

Messeri A, Morabito M, Crisci A, Messeri G, Betti G, Vallorani R, Gozzini B, Orlandini S, 2019

Abstract: Climate change is leading to an increase in the frequency and severity of hazard events such as heat waves and cold spells across the globe and particularly in Europe. These changes have a direct effect on human health and in particular on the vulnerable people such as the elderly, children, workers or people suffering from chronic diseases. Despite this, nowadays weather forecast services provide little information about the effects of this particular class of hazards and only few specific weather service based on biometeorological forecast are actually available. The reliability of the Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI) as a heat-related health risk indicator in Europe is already widely demonstrated in recent literature. The aim of the present study is to illustrate the reliability of a comprehensive biometeorological forecast service based on UTCI for operative warning purposes in Italy. To increase accuracy of the basic biometeorological parameters, Global Forecast System (GFS) at 0.5° are used as initial condition to feed Limited Area Model (LAM) configured to work at high spatial resolution (12 km) by using all schemes and parameterizations suited to perform a more realistic simulation of the earth boundary layer, taking into account the soil and surface interactions. Hourly maps of thermal comfort/discomfort according to UTCI are provided with a forecast up to 5 days. Potentially, this operational chain could easily be implemented in more performed models (i.e. the 3-km ECMWF) and could also be used in specific UTCI health warning systems for vulnerable people. An evaluation of the potential UTCI application in Heat-Health warning system addressed to workers (HEAT-SHIELD Project-grant agreement No. 668786) was realized and in particular a microclimatic monitoring in three outdoor environments (Italy) was carried out during summer 2017.


UNIFI, Italy

2nd International Forum on Climate Change and Health Response under the "Belt & Road"

Initiative. Guangzhou, China. Asia International Hotel, No. 326, Huanshi East Rd, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou City.

The HEAT-SHIELD Personalized Warning System for European Workers and Other Adaptation Solutions to Minimize Detrimental Health and Productivity Effects of Workers Caused by Global Warming

Morabito M, Messeri A, Crisci A, Orlandini S., 2018

Abstract: Globally, various heat-health warning systems (HHWSs) based on different environmental and health indicators exist that provide short-term (3-5 days) heat stress alert levels referred to the general population or the most vulnerable people, such as the elderly. These systems provide a generalized warning addressed to a standard person, with fixed anthropometric and behavioral characteristics (clothing worn and physical intensity). Therefore, the information provided may vary widely depending on personal characteristics. Currently, there are not personalized HHWSs for workers who, for strictly economic reasons (linked to the work productivity), are particularly vulnerable to the heat effects, as it is not possible generally to interrupt work except for limited periods. For this reason, in the framework of the European HEAT-SHIELD project (grant agreement No. 668786), a prototype of  web-platform with personalized forecast heat warnings for workers, employers, organizations and operators responsible for safeguarding the health in various occupational areas, was also developed and launched operationally during the summer of 2018. This tool provides detailed short-term warnings (up to 5 days) and a medium-term planning support (up to just over a month). The system is based on probabilistic medium-range forecasts of ECMWF (European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecast) calibrated on approximately 1,800 weather station located in Europe. The HHWS is based on the forecast of the worst daily heat stress condition assessed by the Wet-Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) index. A user (worker or stakeholder), after logging on the webpage, has access to the own personalized profile where the 5-day heat-risk
levels, with behavioral suggestions to be adopted in the short term (how much to hydrate and rest), as well as the heat-risk levels for planning work activities in the medium term, are available. This adaptation tool, together with other adaptation solutions that will be presented, represent useful b,c support for the worker to counteract the heat stress in the context of the global warming. This is also helpful for the employer (or who is responsible for safeguarding the health of workers) for a better planning of activities (i.e. shifting working hours) while preserving worker’s health and limiting the productivity loss.



9 October 2018, Split, Croatia

Labor productivity losses due to heat stress in agricultural workers:quantification of possible benefits deriving by worktime shifting


Introduction: When heat-stress condition occur, the intervention of worker breaks reduces worktime and labor productivity with consequent economic impacts. However, also easy preventive actions, such as worktime shifting, could reduce these effects. Methods: Meteorological data were collected during the summer period (June- September) of 2017 by a station located in a Tuscany agricultural farm (province of Florence) participating in the case studies organized within the European project HEATSHIELD (EU grant agreement No.668786). The hourly % productivity loss due to heat stress was estimated for moderate work activities (300 W) by using two risk functions:
a) based on ISO-standard (ISO, 1989); b) based on epidemiological data (Kjellstrom, 2017). Possible benefits deriving by shifting the working time were also assessed. Results: The daily average WBGT value during the typical working hours (from 8:00 to 17.00) recorded at the farm was 24.6°C with daily maximum WBGT values above 31°C in July and August. The daily mean % productivity loss during the typical working hours was higher when the ISO-standard was applied (6.1%) than the epidemiological approach (4.2%). The daily mean % productivity loss significantly (p<0.01) decreased by shifting the working time by two hours (from 6.00 to 15.00): the mean % productivity loss was 3.5% and 2.5% by using the ISO-standard and the epidemiological risk function respectively.
Conclusions: The heat-related productivity loss for moderate work activity can be more limited if a risk function based on epidemiological data is applied rather than the ISO-standard. The typical productivity loss expected in agricultural workers during the hottest season might be significantly reduced by worktime shifting. Because the exposure of workers to heat-stress conditions is expected to increase as a result of climate change, also simple adaptation measures might be of great help for preventing heat-related illness of workers and for reducing the productivity loss.


9 October 2018, Split, Croatia

HEAT-SHIELD tools for short-term warnings and long-term planning:heat-stress protection strategies to reduce the impact on different working environments and activities.


Introduction: Workers are at risk of excessive heat exposure and related negative effects. The HEAT-SHIELD project (EU grant agreement No.668786) aims to develop solutions to protect the health and productivity in workplaces from excessive heat in the context of climate change. Methods: The daily probability of exceeding WBGT heat stress thresholds was estimated with the ECMWF model to produce personalized short-term heat warnings for workers in outdoor sun/shadow activities. ISIMIP modeling scenarios produced monthly long-term heat planning information ( Field tests produced information on heat exposures and occupational health and productivity impacts. Results: The short-term warnings allow workers to obtain personalized information about the heat-stress impact with preventive suggestions to adopt in workplaces. The longer-term estimates allow enterprise planners and the community to consider likely future heat-stress problems. This is important for planning concerning new factory locations and design, as well as work scheduling in longer-term processes. Detailed local micro-meteorological data was collected in the summer of 2017 and 2018 in some Florence (Italy) workplaces. The workers declared a heat stress level (from low to more often moderate heat stress) even if the ISO-standard WBGT threshold for that activity level does not recommend critical heat-stress conditions. Conclusions: The features and the potentialities of these HEAT-SHIELD tools for worker’s health and productivity protection will be useful to implement adaptation solutions and mitigation strategies to reduce the severity of heat exposure and the impact on productivity. A ISO-standard WBGT threshold re-calibration is suggested and the consideration of the impact of the outdoor heat stress condition on indoor non-airconditioned environments is desirable.The short-term heat protection warning and long-term heat protection planning inform occupational health management and enterprise planning and will reduce heat-stress impacts on different working environments and activities.

UNIFI, Italy

​International Forum on Climate Change and Health under the Belt and Road Initiative

Department of Health Policy & Management, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510080, China

HEAT-SHIELD tools for protection of health and productivity in workplaces: new approaches to short-term warnings and long-term planning.

Morabito M, Messeri A, Kjellstrom T, Flouris A.D., 2017.

Abstract: Around a third of the world’s population actually faces deadly heatwaves and this percentage will grow to about 50% by 2100 even if greenhouse gas emissions will be drastically reduced. Working people are at particular risk as their physical activity generates internal heat in the body. The European HEAT-SHIELD project (grant agreement No.668786) is focused on this topic, aiming to develop preventive solutions to protect the health and productivity in workplaces from excessive heat. The consequences of different levels of climate change will create motivation for climate change mitigation. In addition, new adaptation tools are developed: 1) short-term heat warnings based on probabilistic weather forecasts; 2) long-term heat planning based on climatological modeling
scenarios. The first tool uses the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts to assess the daily probability of exceeding a determined Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) level for different types of work activity. Tests during the summer of 2017 in Florence, Italy, indicated, for instance, the need for heat protection actions in subsequent stressful summer working days. The second tool creates monthly long-term heat planning information with mean and maximum WBGT recorded over recent decades or predicted by using global climate models based on future greenhouse gas emissions depending on mitigating actions. For example, these planning data show in the city of Seville, Spain, that in the middle of this century there will be 4 months of afternoon WBGT levels in the shade above 26°C (on average), a level that affects workers health and performance. Twice as long period as during recent years. The features and the potentialities of these HEAT-SHIELD tools for worker’s health and productivity protection will be shown and discussed, highlighting the advantages of shortterm heat protection
warning and long-term heat protection planning as a part of occupational health management and enterprise planning.

Acciona, Spain

​18 October 2017, Madrid, Spain

10º Taller PTEC (Spanish Construction Technology Platform) “La innovación en procesos de construcción de cara a la mejora de la seguridad y la reducción de la siniestralidad”


Abstract: The effect of heat on the health and productivity of construction workers.

 (Yanez P., Socorro R.)

It is estimated that about half of the economic cost of climate change over the next 15 years will be due to higher temperatures in the workplace, both as a result of lower productivity and health care costs. ACCIONA Construcción's R&D centre has carried out a field study on a residential construction project. During the project, 15 employees between the ages of 20 and 55 and different functions on site were monitored. The analysis of these will allow us to design measures to minimize the effects of heat on their workplaces.

EMPA, Switzerland

International Congress of Biometeorology

September 3 - 7, 2017. Durham, UK

Abstract: Validation of the human thermoregulation model to predict physiological impact of a heat wave (Psikuta A., Koelblen B., Annaheim S.)

High temperatures in summer with a higher probability of incidence of heat waves in response to climate change may dramatically reduce the thermal comfort of the inhabitants of urban areas. It has been demonstrated that higher daytime temperatures and reduced night-time cooling associated to heat waves can affect human health by contributing to general discomfort, respiratory and cardiovascular difficulties and exhaustion, and higher mortality, especially in sensitive populations, such as children, elderly and those with existing health conditions. This issue can be addressed with simulation tools such as validated models of human thermoregulation to develop effective preventive strategies and to mitigate heat exposure of individuals including its effects on their well-being and health. The major challenge posed on such models is the simulation of the exposure to outdoor conditions with continuous variability of the ambient parameters, which may affect stability and accuracy of the model. The second challenge is the necessity to simulate long-term exposures to capture effect of the heat wave lasting typically for several days, where any inaccuracy of the model algorithms will cumulate over time.

In this study we have validated human thermo-physiology model by Fiala using human experimental datasets collected during outdoor exposures with ambient conditions changing on a minute basis. Secondly, we have attempted to simulate the long-term exposures to validate parameters critical for human health and well-being using exposures based on the literature survey. The analysis revealed the opportunities of the human thermoregulation modelling in prevention of heat-related risks and showed the model shortcomings that need to be addressed in the further modelling and research endeavours.

TNO, Netherlands

Geophysical Research Abstracts
Vol. 18, EGU2016-12146, 2016
EGU General Assembly 2016
© Author(s) 2016. CC Attribution 3.0 License.

Modelling of labour productivity loss due to climate change:
Tord Kjellstrom (1) and Hein Daanen (2,3,4)
(1) Health and Environment International Trust, Nelson, New Zealand (,

(2) TNO, Soesterberg, Netherlands (,

(3) VU University, Amsterdam, Netherlands,'

(4) Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Climate change will bring higher heat levels (temperature and humidity combined) to large parts of the world.
When these levels reach above thresholds well defined by human physiology, the ability to maintain physical
activity levels decrease and labour productivity is reduced. This impact is of particular importance in work
situations in areas with long high intensity hot seasons, but also affects cooler areas during heat waves.
Our modelling of labour productivity loss includes climate model data of the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model
Inter-comparison Project (ISI-MIP), calculations of heat stress indexes during different months, estimations
of work capacity loss and its annual impacts in different parts of the world. Different climate models will be
compared for the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) and the outcomes of the 2015 Paris Climate
Conference (COP21) agreements. The validation includes comparisons of modelling outputs with actual field
studies using historical heat data. These modelling approaches are a first stage contribution to the European
Commission funded HEAT-SHIELD project.

Meteoswiss, Switzerland

7th International Conference on the Physiology and Pharmacology of Temperature Regulation (PPTR 2018)

7-12 October 2018, Split, Croatia


(Casanueva A., Kotlarski S., Spirig Ch., Fischer A.M., Flouris A.D., Kjellstrom T., Lemke B.,Nybo L., Schwierz C. and Liniger M.A.)


Global mean temperature is projected to increase until the end of the 21st century under all emission scenarios. Likewise, temperature extremes such as the highest daily temperature, the number of tropical nights or heat wave intensity and duration are projected to increase. These changes will ultimately affect biodiversity and human beings. Under hot conditions the human body is able to regulate its core temperature via sweat evaporation, but this ability is reduced when air humidity is very high. These conditions of high temperature and humidity invoke heat stress which, in turn, may cause heat-related illnesses (e.g. dehydration, hyperthermia and heat stroke). Heat stress is a major problem for vulnerable groups of the population and also constitutes an important threat for European workers with potential major impacts on workers’ health and productivity. In this context, the H2020 project HEAT-SHIELD ( aims at analyzing the impact of climate change related heat increase on labour productivity in strategic industries in Europe within an inter-sectoral framework, bridging the gap between meteorological information and sustainable solutions.

Within HEAT-SHIELD, climate change projections of occupational heat stress are developed as the climatological basis for further physiological, economical and sociological analyses. We use a well-defined heat stress index (the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature) that is implemented by the International Standards Organization as regulatory index to measure the heat stress of working people. The comprehensive and state-of-the-art regional climate model (RCM) ensemble of the EURO-CORDEX initiative is exploited and statistically adapted for more than thousand locations in Europe to derive climate change signals assuming different emission scenarios. These are further used to obtain the potential losses in labour productivity following the recommendations of international standards. Our results show that, in large parts of Europe, future heat stress will exceed critical levels for a physically-active human body. The losses in labour productivity are especially large for non-shaded conditions, resulting in a reduction of 15-60% working hours during summer time in the Mediterranean area under the strongest emission scenario for the end of the 21st century. Adapting European industries to these projected changes will likely be required in order to prevent major consequences for the health of workers and the economic productivity. Such adaptation is already valuable today and may support workers to cope with current heat stress situations. An early-warning system has been developed for the detection of heat stress episodes up to four weeks ahead by applying the same methods to operational ensemble forecasts of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. The system aims to allow stakeholders timely and precise prevention strategies and better planning of the work activities.

University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

International Scientific Conference on Climate Change Adaptation in Eastern Europe

3-5 July 2018, Banja Luka, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Abstract: Aggravated occupational heat stress recognition and mitigation in Slovenia (Pogačar T., Žnidaršič Z., Črepinšek Z., Kajfež Bogataj L.)

Global warming is strongly reflected in an increase in the number of hot days and, consequently, heat waves – their occurrence over a wider time frame, their duration, intensity and frequency. Changed characteristics were studied at two locations in Slovenia, confirming the increase. The problem of heat stress, health risks and labor productivity loss experienced by workers is well studied in hot locations, but not enough in Europe. Heat stress relies on both environmental and individual factors and it is important to understand how the general public and workers perceive heat risk, since this information may be helpful in preparing or updating heat stress mitigation strategies. Two studies were conducted in Slovenia in the frame of the Horizon 2020 Heat-Shield project, the first analyzing already experienced heat stress symptoms and health issues, productivity loss and self-initiative measures among workers in various sectors (N=687), and the second investigating workers' knowledge of heat stress, its impact and preventive measures (N=117). Workplace temperature in a large majority of cases was considered not suitable, negative heat stress impacts were recognized and already experienced. The results of the two studies show the importance of the problem, which is expected to worsen due to climate change, making mitigation of heat stress an unavoidable issue.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 668786

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