Ozone and temperature in Europe

Research description

Heat and ozone waves in Europe: characteristics, weather types, and association with mortality

Start date: 10/2019

End date: 06/2020

Funded by: Faculty of Medicine, (University of Augsburg)

Project responsibility on site: Prof. Dr. Elke Hertig


Air pollution and high temperatures pose high health risks, especially for vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly and pre-diseased individuals. Episodes of high ozone concentrations and heat waves are expected to increase in Europe in the future as a result of climate change. In this project, different indices were used to characterize heat and ozone waves. Portugal (southern Europe) and Bavaria (central Europe) were considered as study regions. The extreme events were studied individually and in combination. It was found that in Bavaria heat and ozone waves are mainly associated with autochthonous weather conditions, while in Portugal the advection of air masses from eastern and northeastern directions is of particular importance. In terms of excess mortality associated with heat and ozone events, the combined heat-ozone waves show the strongest negative impact.


Project responsibility:
Prof. Dr. Elke Hertig, Professorship of Regional Climate Change and Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Augsburg.
Prof. Dr. Ricardo Machado Trigo, Instituto Dom Luíz (IDL), University of Lisbon, Portugal
Dr. Ana Russo, Instituto Dom Luíz (IDL), University of Lisbon, Portugal


Hertig, E., Russo, A., Trigo, R. (2020): Heat and ozone pollution waves in Central and South Europe- characteristics, weather types, and association with mortality. Atmosphere. doi: 10.3390/atmos11121271



Modeling and projection of health-relevant combined ozone-temperature events in Europe

Start date: 15.10.2018

End date: ongoing

Funded by: Faculty of Medicine, funding from the "Equal Opportunities for Women in Research and Teaching" program of the Free State of Bavaria (University of Augsburg)

Project responsibility on site: Sally Jahn, Prof. Dr. Elke Hertig


Air pollution represents today the single largest environmental health risk for the European population. Ground-level ozone (O3) is one of the most harmful air pollutants produced by photochemical chain reactions under the presence of sunlight. Since elevated air temperatures combined with intense solar radiation favor the formation of ground-level ozone, high ozone concentrations often co-occur with high air temperatures. Daily combined occurrences of elevated ozone and air temperature levels represent so-called compound ozone-temperature-(o-t-) events. Ozone as well as heat cause individually a large variety of negative health effects, but the resulting synergistic effects of these compound o-t-events that are greater than the sum of the effects of the individual factors alone pose an even intensified threat to human health.

Climate change leads to rising air temperatures and favors the formation and accumulation of ozone, leading to an even greater future health burden for the European population. The timely assessment of future developments of concurrent occurrences of high air temperature and related health impacts with respect to ongoing climatic changes is thus essential to adjust and specify air pollution and climate change mitigation and adaption strategies.

The aim of the project is to investigate, model and project health-relevant compound ozone and temperature events under current and future European climate. Spatiotemporal variabilities in ozone and temperature patterns and characteristics are analyzed and highlighted by dividing the European domain into different ozone and temperature regions. Furthermore, central Europe represents a strong regional focus. The identification of region-specific main meteorological and synoptic factors influencing the occurrence of these compound o-t-events as well as the analysis of respective changes in their frequency and intensity due to future climatic conditions are the two main pillars of the project.


Project responsibility:

Sally Jahn, Professorship for Regional Climate Change and Health, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Applied Informatics, Univerity of Augsburg




Jahn S., Hertig, E. (2021): Modeling and projecting health-relevant combined ozone and temperature events in present and future Central European climate. Air Qual Atmos Health 14, 563–580 (2021).  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11869-020-00961-0


Jahn S., Hertig E. (2022): Using clustering, statistical modeling, and climate change projections to analyze recent and future region-specific compound ozone and temperature burden over Europe. GeoHealth 6, e2021GH000561. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021GH000561