27 Sep 2022
27 Sep 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Trends in heat and cold wave risks for the Italian Trentino Alto-Adige region from 1980 to 2018

Martin Morlot1, Simone Russo2, Luc Feyen2, and Giuseppe Formetta1 Martin Morlot et al.
  • 1University of Trento, Department of civil, environmental, and mechanical engineering, via Mesiano, 77, 38123, Trento (Italy)
  • 2European Commission, Joint Research Centre

Abstract. Heat waves (HW) and cold waves (CW) can have considerable impact on people. Mapping risks of extreme temperature at local scale accounting for the interactions between hazard, exposure and vulnerability remains a challenging task. In this study, we quantify human risks from HW and CW at high resolution for theTrentino-Alto Adige region of Italy from 1980 to 2018. We use the Heat Wave Magnitude Index daily (HWMId) and a Cold Wave Magnitude Index daily (CWMId) as temperature-based indicators and apply a Tweedie zero-inflated distribution to derive hazard intensities and frequencies. The hazard maps are combined with high-resolution maps of population, for which the vulnerability is quantified at community and city level using a set of eight socioeconomic indicators. We find a statistically significant increase in HW hazard and exposure, with 6.0-times more people exposed to extreme heat after 2000 compared to the last two decades of the previous century. CW hazard and exposure remained stagnant over the studied period in the region. We observe a general trend towards increased resilience to extreme temperature spells over the region. In the larger cities of the region, however, we find that vulnerability has increased due to an ageing population and more single households. HW risk has risen practically everywhere in the region, indicating that the reduction in vulnerability in the smaller communities is outpaced by the increase in HW hazard. In the large cities, HW risk levels in the 2010s are 50 % larger compared to the 1980s due to the rise in both hazard and vulnerability. Whereas in smaller communities, stagnant CW hazard and declining vulnerability results in reduced CW risk levels, the risk level in cities grew by 20 % due to the increased vulnerability over the study period. The findings of our study are highly relevant for steering investments in local risk mitigation measures, while the method can be applied to other regions that have detailed information on hazard, exposure and vulnerability indicators.

Martin Morlot et al.

Status: open (until 24 Dec 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2022-241', Anonymous Referee #1, 18 Oct 2022 reply
  • CC1: 'Comment on nhess-2022-241', Anna Rita Scorzini, 21 Oct 2022 reply

Martin Morlot et al.

Martin Morlot et al.


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Short summary
In this paper we report on recent trends in heat and cold waves (HW and CW) risk in a European alpine region, defined by a time and spatial explicit framework which quantify hazard, vulnerability, exposure, and finally risk. We found that HW risk levels in the 2010s are 50 % larger compared to the 1980s due to the rise in both hazard and vulnerability. Stagnant CW hazard and declining vulnerability results in reduced CW risk levels.