EDO Heat and Cold Wave Index (version 1.0.0)

Collection: DROUGHT : Drought Observatories datasets 


Heat- or coldwaves are classified by duration in days starting from more than one day. The present-day heat/cold wave is classified by accumulating all the past consecutive days with heat/cold wave until the present-day. However, for any past date the duration can also include the following days if the heat/cold wave persisted after the selected date.

The Heat and Cold Wave Index (HCWI) that is implemented in the Copernicus European Drought Observatory (EDO) is used to detect and monitor periods of prolonged extreme-temperature anomalies (i.e. heat and cold waves) that can have specific impacts on human activities, health and ecosystem services. The HCWI indicator is computed for each location (grid-cell) of 1/4 decimal degree, based on the persistence for at least three consecutive days of events with both daily minimum and maximum temperatures (Tmin and Tmax) above the 90th percentile daily threshold (for heat waves) or below the 10th percentile daily threshold (for cold waves). For each grid cell, the daily threshold values for Tmin and Tmax are derived from a 30-year climatological baseline period (1981-2010), using the JRC’s MARS AGRI4CAST database of daily meteorological observations and computed interpolated minimum and maximum temperatures. Heat- and coldwaves are also detected during winter, respectively summer, in which a heatwave or coldwave can be perceived as pleasant by human beings but can have repercussions on ecosystem services. Examples are extended night frost in spring leading to damage of sprouts, or hot winter days leading to snow frost in high altitudes, subsequently leading to less water availability in streams during spring and summer. When temperature potentially dangerous for human beings were reached EDO will present an additional warning.


Email (at)


  • JRC Monitoring Agricultural Resources (MARS) Unit
  • EDO European Drought Observatory

How to cite

(MARS) Unit, JRC Monitoring Agricultural Resources; European Drought Observatory, EDO (2021): EDO Heat and Cold Wave Index (version 1.0.0). European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) [Dataset] PID:


Droughts European Drought Observatory (EDO) CEMS Heat and Cold waves Copernicus Temperature

Data access

Data Download Service (GeoTIFF)
Data Download Service (NetCDF)
Heat and Cold Wave Index (HCWI) Factsheet
  • This Factsheet provides a detailed technical description of the indicator Heat and Cold Wave Index (HCWI), which is implemented in the Copernicus European Drought Observatory (EDO), and which is used for detecting and characterizing periods of extreme-temperature anomalies (i.e. heat and coldwaves).

    The meteorological variables upon which the HCWI indicator produced by EDO is based, Maximum/ Minimum Daily Temperature are also described in this document.


Towards a monitoring system of temperature extremes in Europe
Lavaysse, C., C. Cammalleri, A. Dosio, G. van der Schrier, A. Toreti, and J. Vogt. 2018. Towards a monitoring system of temperature extremes in Europe. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 18, 91-104.

Geographic areas


Spatial coverage

Type Value
POLYGON((50.75 71.5,-27.75 71.5,-27.75 27.25,50.75 27.25,50.75 71.5))

Temporal coverage

From date To date
1980-01-01 N/A

Additional information

Published by
European Commission, Joint Research Centre
Created date
Modified date
Issued date
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Data theme(s)
Update frequency
28 Sep 2021: 2 visits