Heat waves in Poland in the period 1951-2015: trends, patterns and driving factors

Joanna Wibig 1  
Department of Meteorology and Climatology, University of Łódź
Meteorol. Hydrol. Water Manage. 2018;6(1):37–45
Publish date: 2018-01-02
Heat waves were analysed on the basis of maximum daily temperature from 24 meteorological stations in Poland. Heat waves are defined as the longest continuous period during which Tmax (daily maximum air temperature) is equal to or higher than 30°C in at least three days, the mean Tmax during the whole heat wave is equal or higher than 30°C and Tmax does not drop below 25°C during the whole period of heat wave duration. Heat waves occur in Poland from April to September with their maximums in July and August. Four-day-long heat waves are most frequent but the longest one lasted 31 days. The most persistent heat waves were in 1994 and 2015. An increasing trend in heat wave frequency and intensity is observed in Poland, however the increase is statistically significant at only about 60% of analysed stations. Four synoptic patterns favouring heat waves have been distinguished. A strong high over the Azores accompanies all of them, as well as slightly higher than normal pressure over Central Europe –this causes calm and sunny weather over Poland. Strong blocking appears over the North Atlantic during heat wave events, proofing that the development of strong heat waves in Poland is related to large scale circulation and that they are not of local origin. The analysis of the impact of soil moisture in months leading up to the development of heat waves should be the next step in analysis.
Joanna Wibig   
Department of Meteorology and Climatology, University of Łódź, Narutowicza 88, 90-139 Łódź, Poland