Towards a monitoring system of temperature extremes in Europe
Abstract. Extreme-temperature anomalies such as heat and cold waves may have strong impacts on human activities and health. The heat waves in western Europe in 2003 and in Russia in 2010, or the cold wave in southeastern Europe in 2012, generated a considerable amount of economic loss and resulted in the death of several thousands of people. Providing an operational system to monitor extreme-temperature anomalies in Europe is thus of prime importance to help decision makers and emergency services to be responsive to an unfolding extreme event.
In this study, the development and the validation of a monitoring system of extreme-temperature anomalies are presented. The first part of the study describes the methodology based on the persistence of events exceeding a percentile threshold. The method is applied to three different observational datasets, in order to assess the robustness and highlight uncertainties in the observations. The climatology of extreme events from the last 21 years is then analysed to highlight the spatial and temporal variability of the hazard, and discrepancies amongst the observational datasets are discussed. In the last part of the study, the products derived from this study are presented and discussed with respect to previous studies. The results highlight the accuracy of the developed index and the statistical robustness of the distribution used to calculate the return periods.