Heat wave

A heat wave is a period of extreme high temperature that lasts several days. Heat waves can be responsible for large numbers of weather-related deaths and diseases (Kovats and Ebi 2006). No globally accepted definition of a heat wave exists (Koppe et al. 2004; Robinson 2001). Three different approaches are usually applied to determine whether a period is defined as a “heat wave” (Gosling et al. 2009; Robinson 2001). Methods for identifying heat wave days include selecting the 95th percentile of daily temperature (Beniston 2004; Gosling et al. 2007; Hajat et al. 2002), selecting absolute temperatures (Koppe and Jendritzky 2005; Matzarakis et al. 2010) [this approach is mostly used with human biometeorological indices such as the Physiological Equivalent Temperature (PET) or the Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI), for which levels of thermal stress are defined (e.g. Matzarakis et al. (2010; 2009) for PET)], or approaches that identify a specific synoptic classification/air mass (Hondula et al. 2013). For farm animals, a heat wave has been defined as a period of at least 3 consecutive days during which recovery hours are less than 10, where the recovery hours are defined as hours with a temperature humidity index (THI) below 72 (Valtorta et al.
2002).

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