Prof. Mayer is currently a retired professor at the Chair of Environmental Meteorology, Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg (Germany), which emerged from the Meteorological Institute at this University in 2015. He studied meteorology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich (Germany) and graduated with a diploma in 1971. He obtained his PhD degree at the Faculty of Physics, University (TH) of Karlsruhe (Germany), in 1974 and was habilitated in Forest Meteorology and Climatology at the Faculty of Forest Sciences, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich (Germany), in 1985. He worked as a research fellow from 1971 to 1974 at the Meteorological Institute of the University (TH) of Karlsruhe and from 1974 to 1992 at the Chair for Bioclimatology and Applied Meteorology of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich. In 1992, he was appointed to the Chair of Meteorology and Climatology at the Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg, which included the position of the director of the Meteorological Institute at this University. With respect to long-term research activities abroad, he carried out his research from August 1997 to March 1998 at the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA. He retired in autumn 2015, but he continues his research resulting in publications and presentations at different conferences.
His major research interests are in the fields of environmental meteorology, especially urban climatology, urban meteorology, urban air pollution and urban human-biometeorology, as well as in forest meteorology. Applied methods and results of his research are addressed in about 390 scientific publications in international peer-reviewed journals. Against the background of new challenges due to climate change, they reflect the increasing importance of "bringing science into practice". He was the field editor for urban climatology in the scientific journals Climate Research (2003 to 2013) and International Journal of Biometeorology (2007 to 2014). He is a member of several scientific societies such as International Association for Urban Climate or International Society of Biometeorology. For his fundamental work in environmental meteorology and forest meteorology as well as especially in urban human-biometeorology, he was awarded the "Reinhard-Süring-Badge" by the German Meteorological Society in March 2019.
Keynote Title: Urban heat waves
Heat waves represent severe meteorological phenomena, which are caused by specific regional weather patterns. Different definitions are available to identify heat waves. They are almost always based on threshold values for the air temperature and, therefore, not impact-related. Using the example of humans, an impact-related definition of heat waves, e.g. by suited threshold values for thermo-physiological assessment indices, could enable that the adaptation and acclimatization of humans to severe heat is considered. Results of climate simulations for different regions worldwide indicate that heat waves will be more frequent and intense as well as longer lasting in the future.
Cities contribute to an additional enhancement of this thermal background conditions due to their own development. It is mainly caused by urban land use changes due to the increased demand for commercial and residential space as well as energetic processes related to it. Thus, the impairment of well-being, efficiency and health of the rising urban population, especially risk groups such as infants, sick and elderly people, is increasing during urban heat waves. It reaches an extent that urban planning, especially in cities where the design and population are not adapted to heat waves (e.g. in Central Europe), is facing the challenge to develop long-term local countermeasures against human heat wave stress, which should be based on methods and findings in the field of urban human-biometeorology. The currently available concepts mostly derived from numerical scenario simulations are characterised by a heat-reducing urban design with a higher share of green infrastructure and the effort to comply with the objectives of climate and environment protection, e.g. avoidance of electrical air conditioning systems, especially in cities located in temperate climate zones. The public must put pressure on decision-makers like politicians that the countermeasures are actually implemented in existing and future "hot spots" in cities.