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Heatwaves (1981-2018)

Africa is considered one of the most vulnerable regions to weather and climate variability. Extreme events such as heat waves have important impacts on public health, water supplies, food security, and more generally on both regional economies and natural ecosystems. A prolonged period of hot days can feed wildfires, inhibit crop yields, or produce algae blooms with consequences on lakes oxygenation and, ultimately, fish mortality. Understanding of temperature extreme regime in Africa is necessary to assess the impacts of climate change on human and natural systems and to develop suitable adaptation and mitigation strategies at country level. A way to quantify heath waves is to use the Heat Wave Magnitude Index daily (HWMId). The HWMId is defined as the maximum magnitude of the heat waves in a year. Computed annually, this index takes into account both the duration and the intensity of extreme temperature events, and enables a comparison between heat waves with different timing and location. This dataset presents the number of years in the period 1981-2018 with a HWMId equal or superior to 4. It gives a general idea of the spatial distribution of heat waves with moderate intensity.

Ceccherini, G., Russo, S., Ameztoy, I., Marchese, A. F., and Carmona-Moreno, C.: Heat waves in Africa 1981–2015, observations and reanalysis, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 115–125,, 2017.

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