EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The Dutch heat wave of July 2019 in a warmer world: How much hotter could it get? 

Hylke de Vries, Geert Lenderink, Erik van Meijgaard, Wim de Rooij, and Bert van Ulft
Hylke de Vries et al.
  • KNMI, R&D Modelling Weather and Climate, De Bilt, Netherlands (

Summertime heat waves are extreme meteorological events with a high impact. Three defining aspects are their intensity, duration and spatial extent. All three will change for the worse in a warming world. We illustrate how these changes could play out for the heat wave that produced the hottest day to date in the Netherlands (40.7C, Gilze-Rijen 25 July 2019, a record-shattering event of more than 2 degrees). This is done using a chain of hydrostatic and non-hydrostatic regional climate models of increasing horizontal resolution (12km-2.5km-500m-150m) in combination with the Pseudo Global Warming (PGW) approach. Various scenarios are explored using an ensemble approach to examine robustness. Results indicate that if the 2019 July heat wave were to occur in a +2K warmer world: (i) temperatures would likely reach 45C in many places; (ii) the cumulative heat-wave intensity sum would double; (iii) the time to “cool off” in between heat waves would reduce to a level where the total number of days spent in heat waves roughly equals the number of cool days (Tx<25C); (iv) the area where the 40C threshold is passed will increase strongly; (v) the heat wave will last longer as a simple consequence of the higher temperatures (i.e., an earlier start and a later end). Further persistence increases occur if large-scale circulation changes are supportive; (vi) the temperature response is between 1.5-2 degree per degree global warming, with higher values occurring in scenarios with a stronger future drying. (vii) Finally, during heat waves cities become ‘islands of heat’ where the daily maximum temperatures and the night-time minima are 1-5C higher than in nearby more rural areas. A first impression of these differences is obtained from experimental simulations with the convection permitting model HCLIM43 in ultra-high ‘resolution-of-the-future’ mode (500-150m).

How to cite: de Vries, H., Lenderink, G., van Meijgaard, E., de Rooij, W., and van Ulft, B.: The Dutch heat wave of July 2019 in a warmer world: How much hotter could it get? , EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-7501,, 2023.