Hot of not: Physiological versus meteorological heatwaves—support for a mean temperature threshold

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The aim of this study was to determine whether a revised heat warning threshold provides an enhanced predictive tool for increases in Emergency Department heat-related presentations in Canberra, Australia. All Emergency Department triage records containing the word “heat”, as well as those diagnosing a heat related illness for the summer periods 2013/2014, 2014/2015, and 2015/2016 were searched. Then a medical record review was conducted to confirm that the patient’s presentation was related to environmental heat, which was defined by the final clinical diagnosis, presentation complaint and details of the patient’s treatment. Researchers then compared this presentation data, to a mean threshold formula. The mean threshold formula included the past three consecutive daily mean temperatures and the last measured temperature upon presentation. This formula was designed to take into account the variance of night-time lows, with concurrent daily ambient temperatures, and was used to determine whether there was a correlation between heat-related presentations and increasing mean temperatures. Heat-related presentations appeared to occur when the mean threshold temperature reached 25°C (77°F), with significant increases when the mean threshold reached 30°C (86°F). These results confirm that a mean temperature of 30°C corresponds to a relevant local public health heat-related threat.




Luther, M., Gardiner, F. W., Hansen, C., & Caldicott, D. (2016). Hot of not: Physiological versus meteorological heatwaves—support for a mean temperature threshold. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(8).

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