Methodological and practical aspects on humid heatwaves study

Heat waves are extreme phenomena that are to be more frequent, longer and more severe in

the future (IPCC 2014). The most dangerous effects of heat waves include high mortality, destruction of ecosystems, infrastructure, losses in agriculture and many sectors of the economy. Not all heat waves are the same - there are short and weak waves, short and strong, long and weak as well as long and strong heat waves (Lhotka, Kyselý 2014). The latter in the scientific literature are referred to as mega-heatwaves (Fischer 2014).

Heat waves also differ from each other in humidity. In few papers devoted to this issue heat waves are divided into: dry heat waves (e.g. Western Europe heatwave of August 2003 and Russia heatwave of 2010) and humid heat waves (e.g. Shanghai 2003 heat wave and Chicago 1995) (Russo et al., 2017). Such combination of high air temperature and high relative humidity is very bad for the human body, especially for the elderly (Worfolk 2000).

The aim of the project is to deepen knowledge about the issue of heat waves with high humidity, primarily to develop a methodology for their definition, as well as analysis of particularly strong and extensive cases of such waves. These studies require the ability to work with data from the WRF model, access to a high-performance computing unit, and knowledge of advanced statistical methods used to study rare extreme events.

The research will be conducted at the Mississippi State University, USA, during 6-week internship.


  • Fischer E. M., 2014. Climate science: Autopsy of two mega-heatwaves. Nat Geosci 7:332–333. doi: 10.1038/ngeo2148
  • IPCC, 2014. Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, 151 pp
  • Lhotka O., Kyselý J., 2014. Characterizing joint effects of spatial extent, temperature magnitude and duration of heat waves and cold spells over Central Europe. Int J Climatol 1244:n/a-n/a. doi: 10.1002/joc.4050
  • Russo S., Sillmann J., Sterl A., 2017. Humid heat waves at different warming levels. Sci Rep 7:1–7. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-07536-7
  • Worfolk J.B., 2000. Heat Waves: Their impact on the Health of Elders. Geriatr Nurs (Minneap) 21:70–77

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