Evolution of the air temperature in Athens and evidence of climatic change: A review

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This study explores research carried out on the effect of climate change on the air temperature of Athens. The main features of the Athens base-line climate and related synoptic systems are presented first. Studies based on the available historical air-temperature records for the city, extending back to the mid 19th century, as well as more recent studies concerning the detection and quantification of the urban heat island are reviewed. Air-temperature fluctuations and trends for different periods, as well as their relationship to changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation, are discussed and emphasis is given to studies examining the evolution of air-temperature extremes in Athens. Perhaps the dominating features of the recent climate of Athens are the pronounced increase in air temperature in the summer and the increase in frequency of exceptionally hot days and persistent large-scale systems, leading to more frequent heat waves in the area. The air-temperature regime in the city is determined by the parallel evolution and combined effect of both natural and anthropogenic driving forces. The study attempts to provide a more complete picture of the temporal temperature variability in Athens, in the context of global climate change and changes inherent to urbanization effects.

Keywords: Athens; air temperature; climate change; heat wares; urban heat island

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17512549.2011.582338

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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