Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 821-831, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-16-821-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
21 Mar 2016
Magnitude and frequency of heat and cold waves in recent decades: the case of South America
Guido Ceccherini1, Simone Russo2, Iban Ameztoy1, Claudia Patricia Romero3, and Cesar Carmona-Moreno1 1European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES), Water Unit, Via E. Fermi 2749, 21027 Ispra, Italy
2European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC), Financial and Economic Analysis Unit, Via E. Fermi 2749, 21027 Ispra, Italy
3Facultad de Ingeniería Ambiental, Universidad Santo Tomás, 5878797 Bogota, Colombia
Abstract. In recent decades there has been an increase in magnitude and occurrence of heat waves and a decrease of cold waves, both of which may be related to the anthropogenic influence. This study describes the extreme temperature regime of heat waves and cold waves across South America over recent years (1980–2014). Temperature records come from the Global Surface Summary of the Day (GSOD), a climatological data set produced by the National Climatic Data Center that provides records of daily maximum and minimum temperatures acquired worldwide. The magnitude of heat waves and cold waves for each GSOD station are quantified on an annual basis by means of the Heat Wave Magnitude Index and the Cold Wave Magnitude Index. Results indicate an increase in intensity and in frequency of heat waves, especially in the last 10 years. Conversely, no significant changes are detected for cold waves. In addition, the trend of the annual temperature range (i.e. yearly mean of Tmax – yearly mean of Tmin) is positive – up to 1 °C per decade – over the extratropics and negative – up to 0.5 °C per decade – over the tropics.

Citation: Ceccherini, G., Russo, S., Ameztoy, I., Romero, C. P., and Carmona-Moreno, C.: Magnitude and frequency of heat and cold waves in recent decades: the case of South America, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 821-831, https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-16-821-2016, 2016.
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Short summary
In recent decades there has been an increase in magnitude and occurrence of heat waves and a decrease of cold waves which are possibly related to the anthropogenic influence. This study describes the extreme temperature regime of heat waves and cold waves across South America over recent years (1980–2014). Results indicate an increase in intensity and in frequency of heat waves, especially in the last 10 years. Conversely, no significant changes are detected for cold waves.
In recent decades there has been an increase in magnitude and occurrence of heat waves and a...
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