The most at-risk regions in the world for high-impact heatwaves

Vikki Thompson, Dann Mitchell, Gabriele C. Hegerl, Matthew Collins, Nicholas J. Leach, Julia M. Slingo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Heatwaves are becoming more frequent under climate change and can lead to thousands of excess deaths. Adaptation to extreme weather events often occurs in response to an event, with communities learning fast following unexpectedly impactful events. Using extreme value statistics, here we show where regional temperature records are statistically likely to be exceeded, and therefore communities might be more at-risk. In 31% of regions examined, the observed daily maximum temperature record is exceptional. Climate models suggest that similar behaviour can occur in any region. In some regions, such as Afghanistan and parts of Central America, this is a particular problem - not only have they the potential for far more extreme heatwaves than experienced, but their population is growing and increasingly exposed because of limited healthcare and energy resources. We urge policy makers in vulnerable regions to consider if heat action plans are sufficient for what might come.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2152
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2023


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