According to climate change scenarios, the average annual temperature will increase by around 4°C if current trends continue. Maximum temperatures, however, have already registered higher values in different regions of the world, increasing the number, duration and intensity of heat waves. With the increase of maximum temperatures and the increase of significance of heat wave events, reports of mortality episodes due to heat effects have been increasing. According to the information from the Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), 5 of the 20 deadliest disasters between 1996 and 2015 were heat wave events. This chapter analyzes heat wave events, the criteria for determining dangerous temperature thresholds, as well as trends already observed, and those expected due to climate change. Heat wave events are correlated with observed increases on mortality rates, and recommendations are suggested to prevent their effects on human health.
Part of the book: Extreme Weather