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The excess heat factor: a metric for heatwave intensity and its use in classifying heatwave severity.

Nairn JR, Fawcett RJ - Int J Environ Res Public Health (2014)

Bottom Line: For many years, these other forms of natural disaster have received much greater public attention than heatwaves, although there are some signs of change.This methodology was used to introduce a pilot national heatwave forecasting service for Australia during the 2013/2014 summer.Some results on the performance of the service are presented.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: South Australian Regional Office, Bureau of Meteorology, Adelaide, South Australia 5067, Australia. j.nairn@bom.gov.au.

ABSTRACT
Heatwaves represent a significant natural hazard in Australia, arguably more hazardous to human life than bushfires, tropical cyclones and floods. In the 2008/2009 summer, for example, many more lives were lost to heatwaves than to that summer's bushfires which were among the worst in the history of the Australian nation. For many years, these other forms of natural disaster have received much greater public attention than heatwaves, although there are some signs of change. We propose a new index, called the excess heat factor (EHF) for use in Australian heatwave monitoring and forecasting. The index is based on a three-day-averaged daily mean temperature (DMT), and is intended to capture heatwave intensity as it applies to human health outcomes, although its usefulness is likely to be much broader and with potential for international applicability. The index is described and placed in a climatological context in order to derive heatwave severity. Heatwave severity, as characterised by the climatological distribution of heatwave intensity, has been used to normalise the climatological variation in heatwave intensity range across Australia. This methodology was used to introduce a pilot national heatwave forecasting service for Australia during the 2013/2014 summer. Some results on the performance of the service are presented.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

As per Figure 14 but for Melbourne (Victoria). T95 = 24.1 °C, with the severity threshold being 24.0 K2.
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ijerph-12-00227-f015: As per Figure 14 but for Melbourne (Victoria). T95 = 24.1 °C, with the severity threshold being 24.0 K2.

Mentions: In this section we explore a significant heatwave which occurred across southeast Australia in January/February 2009 using the EHF and its associated metrics, noting that the graphical representations of the data shown in Figure 13, Figure 14, Figure 15, Figure 16 and Figure 17 could readily be adapted to a real-time weather forecasting context. At the end of January 2009, Adelaide (at the Kent Town site) saw five consecutive days with daily maximum temperatures above 41 °C (27–31 January), with the first four of them exceeding 43 °C. A maximum temperature of 40.6 °C on 1 February made six consecutive days above 40 °C. In consequence, the EHF exceeded the severity threshold in the Adelaide region by a factor of four (Figure 13) at the peak of the heatwave, placing the event well into the “extreme” range. Two further hot days (6–7 February) caused a minor resurgence of the heatwave index after the main event.


The excess heat factor: a metric for heatwave intensity and its use in classifying heatwave severity.

Nairn JR, Fawcett RJ - Int J Environ Res Public Health (2014)

As per Figure 14 but for Melbourne (Victoria). T95 = 24.1 °C, with the severity threshold being 24.0 K2.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4306859&req=5

ijerph-12-00227-f015: As per Figure 14 but for Melbourne (Victoria). T95 = 24.1 °C, with the severity threshold being 24.0 K2.
Mentions: In this section we explore a significant heatwave which occurred across southeast Australia in January/February 2009 using the EHF and its associated metrics, noting that the graphical representations of the data shown in Figure 13, Figure 14, Figure 15, Figure 16 and Figure 17 could readily be adapted to a real-time weather forecasting context. At the end of January 2009, Adelaide (at the Kent Town site) saw five consecutive days with daily maximum temperatures above 41 °C (27–31 January), with the first four of them exceeding 43 °C. A maximum temperature of 40.6 °C on 1 February made six consecutive days above 40 °C. In consequence, the EHF exceeded the severity threshold in the Adelaide region by a factor of four (Figure 13) at the peak of the heatwave, placing the event well into the “extreme” range. Two further hot days (6–7 February) caused a minor resurgence of the heatwave index after the main event.

Bottom Line: For many years, these other forms of natural disaster have received much greater public attention than heatwaves, although there are some signs of change.This methodology was used to introduce a pilot national heatwave forecasting service for Australia during the 2013/2014 summer.Some results on the performance of the service are presented.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: South Australian Regional Office, Bureau of Meteorology, Adelaide, South Australia 5067, Australia. j.nairn@bom.gov.au.

ABSTRACT
Heatwaves represent a significant natural hazard in Australia, arguably more hazardous to human life than bushfires, tropical cyclones and floods. In the 2008/2009 summer, for example, many more lives were lost to heatwaves than to that summer's bushfires which were among the worst in the history of the Australian nation. For many years, these other forms of natural disaster have received much greater public attention than heatwaves, although there are some signs of change. We propose a new index, called the excess heat factor (EHF) for use in Australian heatwave monitoring and forecasting. The index is based on a three-day-averaged daily mean temperature (DMT), and is intended to capture heatwave intensity as it applies to human health outcomes, although its usefulness is likely to be much broader and with potential for international applicability. The index is described and placed in a climatological context in order to derive heatwave severity. Heatwave severity, as characterised by the climatological distribution of heatwave intensity, has been used to normalise the climatological variation in heatwave intensity range across Australia. This methodology was used to introduce a pilot national heatwave forecasting service for Australia during the 2013/2014 summer. Some results on the performance of the service are presented.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus