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Journal Article


Nairn J, Ostendorf B, Bi P. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018; 15(11): e15112494.


School of Public Health, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.


(Copyright © 2018, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)






The establishment of an effective policy response to rising heatwave impacts is most effective when the history of heatwaves, their current impacts and future risks, are mapped by a common metric. In response meteorological agencies aim to develop seamless climate, forecast, and warning heat impact services, spanning all temporal and spatial scales. The ability to diagnose heatwave severity using the Excess Heat Factor (EHF) has allowed the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau) to publicly release 7-day heatwave severity maps since 2014. National meteorological agencies in the UK and the United States are evaluating global 7-day and multi-week EHF heatwave severity probability forecasts, whilst the Bureau contributes to a Copernicus project to supply the health sector with global EHF severity heatwave projection scenarios. In an evaluation of impact skill within global forecast systems, EHF intensity and severity is reviewed as a predictor of human health impact, and extended using climate observations and human health data for sites around the globe. Heatwave intensity, determined by short and long-term temperature anomalies at each locality, is normalized to permit spatial analysis and inter-site comparison. Dimensionless heatwave event moments of peak severity and accumulated severity are shown to correlate with noteworthy events around the globe, offering new insights into current and future heatwave variability and vulnerability. The EHF severity metric permits the comparison of international heatwave events and their impacts, and is readily implemented within international heatwave early warning systems.

Language: en


early warning system; heatwave event moments; heatwave impact; heatwave index; heatwave intensity; heatwave severity


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