The Open UniversitySkip to content

Warming trends in summer heatwaves

Chapman, S. C.; Watkins, Nicholas and Stainforth, D. A. (2019). Warming trends in summer heatwaves. Geophysical Research Letters, 46(3) pp. 1634–1640.

Full text available as:
PDF (Version of Record) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (1MB) | Preview
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


The frequency and severity of heatwaves is expected to increase as the global climate warms. We apply crossing theory for the first time to determine heatwave properties solely from the distribution of daily observations without time‐correlation information. We use Central England Temperature timeseries to quantify how the simple increased occurrence of higher temperatures makes heatwaves (consecutive summer days with temperatures exceeding a threshold) more frequent and intense. We find an overall 2‐3‐fold increase in heatwave activity since the late 1800's. Week‐long heatwaves that on average return every 5 years were typically below ∼28°C and now typically exceed it. Our analysis takes as inputs average user‐specific heatwave properties. Its output pinpoints the range of temperatures for which changes in the distribution must be well‐resolved statistically in order to track how these heatwave properties are changing. This provides a quantitative benchmark for models used for the attribution of heatwaves.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2019 The Authors
ISSN: 1944-8007
Keywords: heatwaves; crossing theory; Central England Temperature timeseries; climate change; extremes
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Engineering and Innovation
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 58907
SWORD Depositor: Jisc Publications-Router
Depositing User: Jisc Publications-Router
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2019 15:55
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2020 09:11
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU