The Theories, Origin And Effects Of Heat Wave

Project and Seminar Material for Science Laboratory Technolofgy (SLT)

The Theories, Origin And Effects Of Heat Wave


A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessively hot weather which may be accompanied by high humidity especially in oceanic climate countries while definitions vary, a heat wave is measured relative to the usual weather in the area and relative to normal temperatures for the season. Temperature that people from a hotter climate consider normal can be termed a heat wave in a cooler area.

The term is applied both to routine weather variations and to extraordinary spells of heat which may occur only once a century. Severe heat wave have caused catastrophic crop failures, thousands of deaths from hyperthermia and widespread power outages due to increased sue of air conditioning. A heat wave is considered extreme weather and a danger because heat and sunlight may overheat the human body. A definition based on Frich et al : heat wave duration index is that a heat wave occurs when the daily maximum temperature of more than five consecutive days exceeds the average maximum temperature by 5oc (9oc), the normal period of abnormally and uncomfortably hot and usually humid weather.

To be a heat wave such a period should last at least one day, but conventionally it last from several days to several weeks. In 1960, A.T. Burrows more rigidly defined a โ€œhot waveโ€ as a spell of three or more days on each of which the maximum shade temperature reaches or exceeds 90oF(32.2oc). More realistically, the comfort criteria for any one region are dependent upon the normal conditions of that region. In the Netherlands, a heat wave is defined as a period of at least 5 consecutive days in which the maximum temperature in De Bolt exceeds 25oc (77oF), provided that on at least 3 days in this period the maximum temperature in de Bolt exceeds this definition of heat wave is also used in Belgium and Luxembourg.

Chapter One


1.1 Origin Of Heat Waves

Heat waves form when high pressure a lift (from 10,000 โ€“ 25,000 feet (3000 โ€“ 7600metres) strengthens and remains over a region for several days up to several weeks. This is common in summer (in both Northern and Southern hemispheres) as the jet stream โ€œfollows the sunโ€. on the equator side of side of the jet stream, in the middle layer of the atmosphere is the high pressure area. Summer time weather patterns are generally slower to change than in winter as a result, this mid level high pressure also moves slowly. Under high pressure, the air acts as a dome capping the atmosphere, this cap helps to trap heat instead of allowing it to lift. Without the lift there is little or no convection and therefore little or no convective clouds (cumules clouds) with minimal chance for rain. The end result is a continual build up of heat at the surface that people experience as heat waves.

In the Eastern United States, a heat wave can occur when a high pressure system originating from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean sea while hot dry air masses form over the desert Southwest and North Mexico.

The SW winds on the backside of the high continue to pump hot, humid gulfair northwestward resulting in a spell of hot and humid weather for much of the Eastern states.

In the western cape province of south Africa, a heat wave can occur when a low pressure offshore and high pressure inland combine to form a Bergwind. The air warms as it descends from the Karoo interior, and the temperature will about 10oc from the interior to the costs. Humidities are usually very low and the temperature can be over 40oc in summer south (51.5oc) was recorded one summer during a Bergwind occurring along the Eastern cape coastline.

1.2 Objectives Of The Study

The general objectives of this projects to undertake a study on the theories, origin and effect of heat waves. Increased human morbidity and mortality, particularly among the elderly and infirm

  1. To know the stress for out door workers
  2. To increased bush fire risk
  3. To know the in animals
  4. To know the damage to crops and vegetation
  5. To increased energy demand, e.g greater demand for air conditioning
  6. To know the stress on energy supply infrastructure,
  7. To increase demand for water e.g human consumption, cooling in power stations
  8. To shifts in tourism preferences due to higher temperatures

1.3 Aim Of The Study

  1. To understand the health impact of heat waves and its effects
  2. To assess the state of and gaps in current knowledge
  3. To comment on current research methodology
  4. To make evidence-based recommendation for public health intervention programmes
  5. To highlight or pinpoint the direction of further research

1.4 Scope Of The Study

This project work analyzes the theories, origin and effect of heat waves. And how heat waves is measured to become widely accepted, also how it is easily understood and how people associate extreme values with their experience.

1.5 Definition Of Terms

The theories, origin and effect of heat waves can also be ascribe to the following

  1. Excess heat factor the combined effect of excess heat and heat stress calculated as an index provides a comparative measure of intensity, load, duration and spatial distribution of a heat wave event. Heat wave conditions exist when the EHF is positive. Combining the measures of excess heat and heat stress provides a measure of heat wave which ahs a strong signal to noise ratio. Low-impact heat waves register as low amplitude EHf vents. As the excess heat and heat stress temperature abnormalities increase, their product increases as a quadratic response to increasing heat load. Multiplying these two indices quadratic signal is detected in high impact data.
  2. Heat Stress: This arises from a period where temperature is warmer, on average, than the recent past. Maximum and subsequent minimum temperature averaged over a have-day period and the previous 30 days are compared to characterize this heat stress in a second index.
  3. Severe Heat Wave: An event where EHF values exceed a threshold for severity that is specific to the climatology of each location.

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion And Recommendation

5.1 Summary

In this project, a comprehensive review was conducted to assess the theories, origin and effect heat wave and to identify the vulnerable populations. The pubmed and science direct database were used to retrieve published literature in English from 1985 to 2014 on the relationship between heat waves and itโ€™s effect and the following Mesh terms and keywords were sued. Heat wave, heat wave, morbidity, hospital admission, hospitalization emergency, emergency medical services and out patient visit. Thirty three studies were included in the final analysis.

Most studies were found a short โ€“ term negative health impact of heat waves on morbidity. The elderly children and males were more vulnerable during heat waves and the medical care demand increased for those with existing chronic diseases.

Some social factors, such as lower socio economic status, can contribute to heat susceptibility. In terms of study methods and heat wave definitions, the remain inconsistencies and and uncertainties. Relevant policies and guidelines need to developed to protect vulnerable populations. Morbidity indicators should be adopted in heat wave early warning systems in order to guide the effective implementation of public health actions.

5.2 Conclusion

Although inconsistency still remains in the literature, most studies found harmful health effect due to heat waves. The direction of these effects on emergency medical acre is more consistent. Policy makers and key stakeholders should make strategies to protect vulnerable populations, especially the elderly and children, people with lower SES, the CALD community and people with chronic disease. Morbidity indicators should be adopted in heat wave early warning system to guide the implementation of effective public health actions. Multi-region study and even international cooperation using identical methodological to scope with current knowledge gaps on this important health concern.

5.3 Recommendation

From all indications we observed that effect of heat wave attracts the following implications to human.

1. Heat Rash:

Also known as prickly heat, is a maculopapular rash accompanied by a cute inflammation and blocked sweat ducts. The sweat ducks may become dilated and may eventually rupture, producing small pruritic vesicles on an erythematous base. Heat rash affects areas of the body covered by tight clothing. If this continues for a duration of time it can lead to the development of chronic dermatitis or a secondary bacterial infection. Prevention is the best therapy. It is also advised to wear loose-fitting clothing in the heat. However, once heat rash ahs developed, the initial treatments involved the application of chlohoxidine lotion to remove any desquamated skin. The associated itching may be treated with topical or systemic antihistamines. If infection occurs a regimen of antibiotics is required.

2. Heat Cramps:

Are painful often severe, involuntary spasms of the large muscle groups sued in strenuous exercise. Heat cramps tend to occur after intense exertion. They usually develop in people performing heavy exercise while sweating profusely and replenishing fluid loss with non-electrolyte containing water. This is believed to lead to hyponatremia that includes cramping in stressed muscles. Rehydration with salt-containing fluids provides rapid relief. Patients with mild cramps can be given oral 2% salt solutions while those with severe cramps require IV isotonic fluids. The many sport drinks on the market are a good source of electrolytes and are readily accessible.

3. Heat Syncope:

Is related to heat exposure that produces orthostatic hypotension. This hypotension can precipitate a near โ€“ syncopal episode. Heat syncope is believed to result from intense sweating which leads to dehydration, followed by peripheral vasodilation and reduced various blood return in the face of decreased vasomotor control. Management of heat syncope consists of cooling and rehydration of the patient using oral rehydration therapy (sport drinks) or isotonic IV fluids. People who experience heat syncope should avoid standing in the heat for long periods of time. They should move to a cooler environment and lie down if they recognize the initial symptoms. Wearing support stockings and engaging in deep knee-bending movement can help promote venous blood return.

NOTE: Heat exhaustion is considered by experts to the forerunner of heat stroke (hyperthermia). It may even resemble heat stroke, with the difference being that the neurologic function remains intact. Heat exhaustion is marked by excessive dehydration and electrolyte depletion. Symptoms may include diarrhea, headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, tachycardia, malaise and myalgia.

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