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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.


We implement and analyze 13 different metrics (4 moist thermodynamic quantities and 9 heat stress metrics) in the Community Land Model (CLM4.5), the land surface component of the Community Earth System Model (CESM). We call these routines the HumanIndexMod. We limit the algorithms of the HumanIndexMod to meteorological inputs of temperature, moisture, and pressure for their calculation. All metrics assume no direct sunlight exposure. The goal of this project is to implement a common framework for calculating operationally used heat stress metrics, in climate models, offline output, and locally sourced weather data sets, with the intent that the HumanIndexMod may be used with the broadest of applications. The thermodynamic quantities use the latest, most accurate and efficient algorithms available, which in turn are used as inputs to the heat stress metrics. There are three advantages of adding these metrics to CLM4.5: (1) improved moist thermodynamic quantities; (2) quantifying heat stress in every available environment within CLM4.5; and (3) these metrics may be used with human, animal, and industrial applications.

We demonstrate the capabilities of the HumanIndexMod in a default configuration simulation using CLM4.5. We output 4× daily temporal resolution globally. We show that the advantage of implementing these routines into CLM4.5 is capturing the nonlinearity of the covariation of temperature and moisture conditions. For example, we show that there are systematic biases of up to 1.5 °C between monthly and ±0.5 °C between 4× daily offline calculations and the online instantaneous calculation, respectively. Additionally, we show that the differences between an inaccurate wet bulb calculation and the improved wet bulb calculation are ±1.5 °C. These differences are important due to human responses to heat stress being nonlinear. Furthermore, we show heat stress has unique regional characteristics. Some metrics have a strong dependency on regionally extreme moisture, while others have a strong dependency on regionally extreme temperature.

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Geoscientific Model Development

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© Author(s) 2015.


This is an Open Access article published by EGU in Geoscientific Model Development in 2014, available online: