Heatwaves in Germany and Europe:
Heat waves are a major risk factor for human health, ecosystems and the economy. In recent decades, an increasing frequency of heat waves has been observed in Europe. So far, however, there exists no uniform definition of a heat wave. Here, we present a comparison of heat wave trends for Europe, using an absolute (5 days with a mean maximum temperature > 30 °C) and a relative (5 days with a mean maximum temperature above the 95. percentile) heat wave definition.
Heat waves with a maximum temperature above 30 °C are found only in Middle, Eastern and Southern Europe. Here, an increasing trend is observed almost everywhere. Using the relative heat wave definition increasing trends are found for most parts of Europe (except for Great Britain, Ireland and small regions in the Mediterranean area).
Using the example of Baden-Württemberg (federal state of Germany) we furthermore show, that besides the well studies heat summer 2003, also the summer 2015 was characterized by a pronounced increase in heat related mortality.