Erin Coughlan de Perez publishes on heatwave definitions

As global studies of climate change depict increasingly dire outcomes of extreme heat, there is an urgent need to understand the appropriateness of heatwave definitions and temperature datasets in different parts of the world.

In a new paper published in Climatic Change, Feinstein Research Director Erin Coughlan de Perez and co-authors share findings from their analysis of the CHIRTS gridded station-satellite temperature dataset.

Their findings reveal close agreement between all four datasets in the magnitude and distribution of extreme temperatures, but little to no agreement between datasets on the timing of extreme heat events in the tropics.

Given these results, Coughlan de Perez advocates for locally developed heatwave metrics for different parts of the world and cautions against the use of a single heatwave definition in global studies.

The authors also make recommendations for future studies on health outcomes of extreme heat in tropical regions.

Read the open-access paper.