Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 112, Issue 1–2, pp 339–350 | Cite as

Summer heat waves over western Turkey between 1965 and 2006

  • Yurdanur Sezginer Unal
  • Elcin Tan
  • S. Sibel MentesEmail author
Original Paper


Global warming is one of the greatest environmental, economic, and social threats in the world. There are many assessments to estimate climate variability over many regions. A change in the Earth’s surface temperature leads to increase in extreme temperature events, which are harmful to the ecosystem, and moreover, they create danger on human health. In this study, we have selected the western part of Turkey as the study area, since climate change projections for Turkey point out that the highest temperature change can be expected on this region during summer, and the Turkish population is very dense here to be affected by extreme events. We have used apparent temperatures to define the heat waves which we have determined their frequencies for the summer months (June–August) of 1965–2006. Since the regional comparisons of station results are intended, we selected the 90th percentile value for each station as a threshold value to be used in the delineation of heat waves. Then, the number of heat waves is determined by imposing the constraint that apparent temperatures stay above the threshold value at least for three consecutive days. Then, the changes in the number of hot days and heat waves and also their durations are analyzed by using the linear least square method. We have found that the number of hot days, heat waves, and heat wave durations is increased between 1965 and 2006 on the western part of Turkey. Additionally, their rate of change is larger within the last decade and extremes are frequently observed after 1998. Regional distributions show that the tendency of the number of heat wave events increases towards the southern latitudes of the domain. Moreover, we investigated the relationship between the number of hot days and the sea surface temperatures of the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea. Correlation analyses are carried out by the number of hot days and averaged sea surface temperatures on the regions of the western, central, and eastern Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. It is found that the number of hot days of west Turkey is better correlated with the sea surface temperatures averaged over eastern Mediterranean and Black Seas. The number of heat waves is found significantly correlated with the fire occurrences for most of the stations.


Heat Wave Fire Occurrence Apparent Temperature Marmara Region Heat Index 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Station data for this study are kindly provided by the Turkish State Meteorological Service. The sea surface temperature data are from the Research Data Archive (RDA) which is maintained by the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). NCAR is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The original data are available from the RDA ( in dataset number ds090.


  1. Andrea FD, Provenzale A, Vautard R, Noblet-Decoudre ND (2006) Hot and cool summers: multiple equilibria of the continental water cycle. Geophys Res Lett 33:L24807CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baldi M, Pasqui M, Cesarone F, and De Chiara G (2005) Heat waves in the Mediterranean region: analysis and model results. 16th Conference on Climate Variability and Change, 9–13 January. The 85th AMS Annual Meeting, San Diego, CAGoogle Scholar
  3. Bilgili (1997) Forests and forest fires in Turkey.
  4. Beniston M (2004) The 2003 heat wave in Europe: a shape of things to come? An analysis based on Swiss climatological data and model simulations, Geophys Res Lett 31:2022–2026Google Scholar
  5. Black E, Blackburn M, Harrison G, Methven J (2004) Factors contributing to the summer 2003 European heat wave. Weather 59:217–223Google Scholar
  6. Carril AF, Gualdi S, Cherchi A, Navarra A (2008) Heat waves in Europe: areas of homogeneous variability and links with the regional to large-scale atmospheric and SSTs anomalies. Clim Dyn 30:77–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cerne SB, Vera CS (2006) The nature of a heat wave in Eastern Argentina occurring during SALLJEX. Proceedings of 8 ICSHMO, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, April 24–28, INPE, p 981–988Google Scholar
  8. Ciais P, Viovy N, Allard V, Aubinet M, Bernhofer C, Carrara A (2005) An unprecedented reduction in the primary productivity of Europe during 2003 caused by heat and drought. Nature 437:529–533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cristo RD, Mazzarella A, Viola R (2007) An analysis of heat index over Naples (Southern Italy) in the context of European heat wave of 2003. Nat Hazards 40:373–379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Della-Marta PM, Luterbacher J, von Weissenfluh H, Xoplaki E, Brunet M, Wanner H (2007) Summer heat waves over western Europe 1880–2003, their relationship to large-scale forcings and predictability. Clim Dyn 29:251–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Díaz J, García-Herrera R, Trigo RM, Linares C, Valente MA, De Miguel JM, Hernández E (2006) The impact of the summer 2003 heat wave in Iberia: how should we measure it? Int J Biometeorol 50:159–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Domonkos P, Kysely J, Piotrowicz K, Petrovic P, Likso T (2003) Variability of extreme temperature events in South–Central Europe during the 20th century and its relationship with large-scale circulation. Int J Climatol 23:987–1010CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Feudale L, Shukla J (2007) Role of Mediterranean SST in enhancing the European heat wave of summer 2003. Geophys Res Lett 34:L03811CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fisher EM, Seneviratne SI, Vidale PL, Luthi D, Schar C (2007) Soil moisture–atmosphere interactions during the 2003 European summer heat wave. J Clim 20:5081–5099CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Founda D, Giannakopoulos C (2009) The exceptionally hot summer of 2007 in Athens, Greece—a typical summer in the future climate? Glob Planet Chang 67:227–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. García-Herrera R, Díaz J, Trigo RM, Luterbacher J, Fischer EM (2010) A review of the european summer heat wave of 2003. Crit Rev Environ Sci Technol 40(4):267–306Google Scholar
  17. Huth R, Kysely J, Pokorna L (2000) A GCM simulation of heat waves, dry spells, and their relationships to circulation. Clim Chang 46:29–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kalkstein LS (1991) A new approach to evaluate the impact of climate on human health. Environ Health Perspect 96:145–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kalnay E, Kanamitsu M, Kistler R, Collins W, Deaven D, Gandin L, Iredell M, Saha S, White G, Woollen J, Zhu Y, Chelliah M, Ebisuzaki W, Higgins W, Janowiak J, Mo KC, Ropelewski C, Wang J, Leetmaa A, Reynolds R, Jenne R, Joseph D (1996) The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project. Bull Am Meteor Soc 77:437–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Karl TR, Knight RW (1997) The 1995 Chicago heat wave: how likely is a recurrence? Bull Am Meteorol Soc 78:1107–1119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kostopoulou E, Jones PD (2005) Assessment of climate extremes in the Eastern Mediterranean. Meteorol Atmos Phys 89:69–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kovats RS, Koppe C (2005) Heatwaves past and future impacts on health. In: Ebi K, Smith J, Burton I (eds) Integration of public health with adaptation to climate change: lessons learned and new directions. Taylor and Francis, Lisse, pp 136–160Google Scholar
  23. Kuglitsch FG, Toreti A, Xoplaki E, Della-Marta PM, Luterbacher J, Wanner H (2009) Homogenization of daily maximum temperature series in the Mediterranean. J Geophys Res 114:D15108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kuglitsch FG, Toreti A, Xoplaki E, Della-Marta PM, Zerefos CS, Türkeş M, Luterbacher J (2010) Heat wave changes in the eastern Mediterranean since 1960. Geophys Res Lett 37:L04802CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kunkel KE, Changnon SA, Reinke BC, Arritt RW (1996) The July 1995 heat wave in the Midwest: a climate perspective and critical weather factors. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 77:1507–1518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kysely J (2002) Probability estimates of extreme temperature events: stochastic. Modeling approach vs. extreme value distributions. Stud Geophys Geod 46:93–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kysely J (2009) Recent severe heat waves in central Europe: how to view them in a long-term prospect? Int J Climatol 30:89–109. doi: 10.1002/joc Google Scholar
  28. Meehl GA, Tebaldi C (2004) More intense, more frequent, and longer lasting heat waves in the 21st century. Science 305:994–997CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Poumadère M, Mays C, Le Mer S, Blong R (2005) The 2003 heat wave in France: dangerous climate change here and now. Risk Anal 25:1483–1494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Robinson PJ (2001) On the definition of a heat wave. J Appl Meteorol 40:762–775CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Smoyer-Tomic KE, Kuhn R, Hudson A (2003) Heat wave hazards: an overview of heat wave impacts in Canada. Nat Hazard 28:465–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Steadman RG (1984) A universal scale of apparent temperature. J Clim Appl Meteorol 23:1674–1687CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Stott P, Stone DA, Allen M (2004) Human contribution to the European heat wave of 2003. Nature 432:610–614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. The 3rd Assessment Report of IPCC (2001) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Third assessment report climate change—the scientific basis. http//
  35. The 4th Assessment Report of IPCC (2007) Intergovernmental panel on climate change. Fourth assessment report ‘Climate Change. The Scientific Basis http//
  36. Theoharatos G, Pantavou K, Mavrakis A, Spanou A, Katavoutas G, Efstathiou P, Mpekas P, Asimakopoulos D (2010) Heat waves observed in 2007 in Athens, Greece: synoptic conditions, bioclimatological assessment, air quality levels and health effects. Environ Res 110(2):152–161Google Scholar
  37. Turkes M, Sumer UM (2004) Spatial and temporal patterns of trends and variability in diurnal temperature ranges of Turkey. Theor Appl Climatol 77:195–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Unal Y, Menteş S (2006) Frequency of heat waves in Istanbul and its relation to circulation patterns. International Conference on Climate Change and the Middle East—past, present, and future, November 20–23. Istanbul Technical University, TurkeyGoogle Scholar
  39. Unkasevic M, Tosic I (2009) An analysis of heat waves in Serbia. Glob Planet Chang 65:17–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Vandentorren S, Suzan F, Medina S, Pascal M, Maulpoix A, Cohen J-C, Ledrans M (2004) Mortality in 13 French cities during the August 2003 heat wave. Am J Public Health 94:1518–1520CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Vautard R, Yiou P, D’Andrea F, de Noblet N, Viovy N, Cassou C, Polcher J, Ciais P, Kageyama M, Fan Y (2007) Summertime European heat and drought waves induced by wintertime Mediterranean rainfall deficit. Geophys Res Lett 34:L07711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wang JXL, Gaffen DJ (2001) Trends in extremes of surface humidity, temperature, and summertime heat stress in China. Adv Atmos Sci 18:742–751Google Scholar
  43. WMO (2008) Guide to meteorological instruments and methods of observations, WMO-No.8. World Meteorological OrganizationGoogle Scholar
  44. World Health Organization (2003) The health impacts of 2003 summer heat waves, briefing notes for the delegations of the fifty-third session of the WHO (World Health Organization) regional committee for Europe, Geneva, Switzerland, 12 ppGoogle Scholar
  45. Xoplaki E et al (2005) European spring and autumn temperature variability and change of extremes over the last half millennium. Geophys Res Lett 32:L15713CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Zaitchik BF, Macalady AK, Bonneau LR, Smith RB (2006) Europe’s 2003 heat wave: a satellite view of impacts and land- Atmosphere feedbacks. Int J Climatol 26:743–769Google Scholar
  47. Ziv B, Saaroni H, Alpert P (2004) The factors governing the summer regime of the eastern Mediterranean. Int J Climatol 24:1859–1871CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yurdanur Sezginer Unal
    • 1
  • Elcin Tan
    • 1
  • S. Sibel Mentes
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Meteorological EngineeringIstanbul Technical UniversityIstanbulTurkey

Personalised recommendations