Title: Global assessment of heat wave magnitudes from 1901 to 2010 and implications for the river discharge of the Alps
Citation: SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT vol. 571 p. 1330–1339
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC102557
ISSN: 0048-9697
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969716314516
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.07.008
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Heat waves represent one of the most significant climatic stressors for ecosystems, economies and societies. A main topic of debate is whether they have increased or not in intensity and/or their duration due to the observed climate change. Firstly, this is because of the lack of reliable long-term daily temperature data at the global scale; secondly, because of the intermittent nature of such phenomena. Long datasets are required to produce a reliable and meaningful assessment. In this study, we provide a global estimate of heat wave magnitudes based on the three most appropriate datasets currently available, derived from models and observations (i.e. the 20th Century Reanalyses from NOAA and ECMWF), spanning the last century and before. The magnitude of the heat waves is calculated by means of the Heat Wave Magnitude Index daily (HWMId), taking into account both duration and amplitude. We compare the magnitude of the most severe heat waves occurred across different regions of the world and we discuss the decadal variability of the larger events since the 1850s. We concentrate our analysis from 1901 onwards, where all datasets overlap. Our results agree with other studies focusing on heat waves that have occurred in the recent decades, but using different data. In addition, we found that the percentage of global area covered by heat wave exceeding a given magnitude has increased almost three times, in the last decades, with respect to that measured in the early 20th century. Finally, we discuss the specific implications of the heat waves on the river runoff generated in the Alps, for which comparatively long datasets exist, affecting the water quality and availability in a significant portion of the European region in summer.
JRC Directorate:Joint Research Centre Corporate Activities

Files in This Item:
There are no files associated with this item.

Items in repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.