Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Heat Waves

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_167


Heat is a feeling of discomfort. Continuous heat increases the discomfort and may cause adverse effects on health particularly combined with high levels of humidity or when exacerbated by a person’s physical condition. If heat lasts for more than a couple of days it is called a heat wave. In the mid and high-latitudes, heat waves are embedded in the usual course of summer weather; in the tropics they are endemic.


Most individuals feel comfortable with respect to thermal conditions, if little or no thermal-regulatory activities are necessary to keep the body core temperature at the level of 36.8°C. This generally is the case in conditions of slight air movement, no solar radiation, low humidity, and the air temperature in the lower to mid-20s given in °C, for indoor and outdoor conditions (Fanger, 1972). There are many additional factors involved when considering the felt heat comfort of a concrete individual, such as the general health and living conditions,...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Meteorologie, Universität LeipzigLeipzigGermany