Future scenarios of thermal bioclimatic conditions in a humid tropical city under urban development

Abstract Urbanization modifies the heat balance in urban areas and has negative effects on landscape, aesthetics, energy efficiency, human health and the inhabitants’ quality of life. This work evaluated future scenarios of bioclimatic conditions for João Pessoa, a humid tropical city in Northeast Brazil. The scenarios were determined based on trends in air temperature, relative humidity and wind speed for the time period from 1968 to 2015. The study was performed for two distinct periods of three months each (dry and wet seasons) using data from weather stations equipped with thermo-hygrometers and cup anemometers located in nine representative areas of the city. Trends in air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and effective temperature index (ET index) time series were evaluated using the Mann-Kendall test. Results indicated that the air temperature showed an increasing trend of 0.34°C /decade, whereas the relative humidity showed a decreasing trend of 0.49%/decade and the wind speed values ranged from 1.3 ms-1 to 3.80 ms-1. These trends are statistically significant according to the Mann-Kendall test (p<0.05). The air temperature increased between the 1980s and 2010s, which corresponds to a period of rapid urbanization of the city. Future environmental conditions in João Pessoa will be determined in accordance with the urbanization processes.