Investigation of heat waves indices applicability for the territory of Ukraine

Text by Ivan Kostyrko (contact email: vanfildin(a) & Olga Shevchenko (contact email: olga.s.meteo(a)

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (TSNUK), Kyiv, Ukraine

During the last decades, the number of heatwaves (HWs) has increased worldwide. Therefore, it is very important to determine the duration, intensity, and other HW characteristics, in particular under climate change condition.

In this study, several heat wave indices over the territory of Ukraine for 1981–2010 have been investigated. Using data from 49 selected stations, daily values of maximum air temperature for the summer months (June to August) of the selected period were calculated to determine indices proposed by Perkins and Alexander (2012). These indices are the following: HWM (average magnitude of all summertime heat waves), HWA (hottest day of hottest summertime event), HWN (frequency of heat wave events during summertime), HWD (length of the longest summertime event), HWF (sum of participating heat wave days in the summertime season, which meet the HW definition criteria over a 30-day interval). Plus, two integrated indices that takes into account both heat wave duration and intensity, the Heat Wave Magnitude Index (HWMI, Russo et al. 2014) and the Heat Wave Magnitude Index daily (HWMId, Russo et al. 2015) were also estimated.

A statistical relationship between the HW indicators and their characteristics was also compared and established, their suitability and sensitivity to changes in the modern climate of the study area were evaluated (see example in Fig. 1). The calculated indices of heatwaves appeared to be sufficiently sensitive to minor changes in the daily maximum air temperature. HWMId was found to be more sensitive to temperature changes than HWMI. The heatwave characteristics of the HWN, HWF, HWM, and the HWMId climate index proved to be the most informative in our study.

The results were presented by Kostyrko et al (2020) during the PEEX special session at EGU-2020 and details of this study are also summarized by Shevchenko et al. (2020).

Related articles:

  1. Kostyrko et al. Investigation of the different heat waves indices applicability for the territory of Ukraine. EGU General Assembly 2020.
  2. Shevchenko, О.; Oliynyk, R.; Snizhko, S.; Svintsitska, H.; Kostyrko I. Indexing of Heatwaves in Ukraine. Water 202012(4), 962;


  1. Perkins, S.E.; Alexander, L.V. On the measurement of Heatwaves. J. Clim. 2012, 25, 4500–4517.
  2. Russo, S.; Dosio, A.; Graversen, R.G.; Sillmann, J.; Carrao, H.; Dunbar, M.B.; Vogt, J.V. Magnitude of extreme heatwaves in present climate and their projection in a warming world. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 2014, 119, 12–500.
  3. Russo, S.; Sillmann, J.; Fischer, E.M. Top ten European heatwaves since1950 and their occurrence in the coming decades. Environ. Res. Lett. 2015, 10, 124003
Fig.1. Spatial distribution of the HWMId index for 2010 heatwave over different geographical regions of Ukraine.

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