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Climate 2015, 3(2), 308-328;

Heat Wave Events over Georgia Since 1961: Climatology, Changes and Severity

Department of Geography, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Senckenbergstrasse 1, 35390 Giessen, Germany
Department of Geography, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, 1 Chavchavdze Avenue, 0179 Tbilisi, Georgia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alessandro Pezzoli
Received: 27 February 2015 / Revised: 24 March 2015 / Accepted: 30 March 2015 / Published: 16 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Impacts on Health)
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The Caucasus Region has been affected by an increasing number of heat waves during the last decades, which have had serious impacts on human health, agriculture and natural ecosystems. A dataset of 22 homogenized, daily maximum (Tmax) and minimum (Tmin) air temperature series is developed to quantify climatology and summer heat wave changes for Georgia and Tbilisi station between 1961 and 2010 using the extreme heat factor (EHF) as heat wave index. The EHF is studied with respect to eight heat wave aspects: event number, duration, participating heat wave days, peak and mean magnitude, number of heat wave days, severe and extreme heat wave days. A severity threshold for each station was determined by the climatological distribution of heat wave intensity. Moreover, heat wave series of two indices focusing on the 90th percentile of daily minimum temperature (CTN90p) and the 90th percentile of daily maximum temperature (CTX90p) were compared. The spatial distribution of heat wave characteristics over Georgia showed a concentration of high heat wave amplitudes and mean magnitudes in the Southwest. The longest and most frequently occurring heat wave events were observed in the Southeast of Georgia. Most severe heat wave events were found in both regions. Regarding the monthly distribution of heat waves, the largest proportion of severe events and highest intensities are measured during May. Trends for all Georgia-averaged heat wave aspects demonstrate significant increases in the number, intensity and duration of low- and high-intensity heat waves. However, for the heat wave mean magnitude no change was observed. Heat wave trend magnitudes for Tbilisi mainly exceed the Georgia-averages and its surrounding stations, implying urban heat island (UHI) effects and synergistic interactions between heat waves and UHIs. Comparing heat wave aspects for CTN90p and CTX90p, all trend magnitudes for CTN90p were larger, while the correlation between the annual time-series was very high among all heat wave indices analyzed. This finding reflects the importance of integrating the most suitable heat wave index into a sector-specific impact analysis. View Full-Text
Keywords: heat waves; heat wave severity; Excess Heat Factor; Georgia; Southern Caucasus heat waves; heat wave severity; Excess Heat Factor; Georgia; Southern Caucasus

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Keggenhoff, I.; Elizbarashvili, M.; King, L. Heat Wave Events over Georgia Since 1961: Climatology, Changes and Severity. Climate 2015, 3, 308-328.

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