Heat waves in Africa 1981–2015, observations and reanalysis
- 1European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Directorate D – Sustainable Resources, Water and Marine Resources, Via E. Fermi 2749, 21027 Ispra (VA), Italy
- 2European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Directorate I – Modelling, Indicators and Impact Evaluation Unit, Via E. Fermi 2749, 21027 Ispra (VA), Italy
- 3Università degli Studi di Catania Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Via Santa Sofia 64, 95123 Catania, Italy
Abstract. The purpose of this article is to show the extreme temperature regime of heat waves across Africa over recent years (1981–2015). Heat waves have been quantified using the Heat Wave Magnitude Index daily (HWMId), which merges the duration and the intensity of extreme temperature events into a single numerical index. The HWMId enables a comparison between heat waves with different timing and location, and it has been applied to maximum and minimum temperature records. The time series used in this study have been derived from (1) observations from the Global Summary of the Day (GSOD) and (2) reanalysis data from ERA-Interim. The analysis shows an increasing number of heat waves of both maxima and minima temperatures in the last decades. Results from heat wave analysis of maximum temperature (HWMIdtx) indicate an increase in intensity and frequency of extreme events. Specifically, from 1996 onwards it is possible to observe HWMIdtx spread with the maximum presence during 2006–2015. Between 2006 and 2015 the frequency (spatial coverage) of extreme heat waves had increased to 24.5 observations per year (60.1 % of land cover), as compared to 12.3 per year (37.3 % of land area) in the period from 1981 to 2005 for GSOD stations (reanalysis).