Australian & New Zealand Journal of Statistics

Statistical Analysis of Heat Waves in the State of Victoria in Australia

Journal Article


The recent blistering heat waves of 2009 in the state of Victoria in Australia were so unprecedented in terms of duration and intensity that society was largely unprepared. These heat waves caused serious health, social and economic problems. In this paper, the daily maximum temperatures at ten selected stations are studied. Auto‐regressive integrated moving‐average models are used to prewhiten the time series. Uncorrelated, non‐normal and heavy‐tailed residuals are analyzed by means of a new skew t‐mixture distribution. The number of mixture components is effectively determined by an innovative penalisation procedure. It is shown that the resulting skew t‐mixture models provide an acceptable fit in all cases. Possible future temperature patterns are obtained through simulation. It is forecast that the average duration of high temperature episodes will increase by two to three days per year and a new eight‐year high temperature level is very likely in the coming few years. The relationship between heavy tail behaviour of the fitted distribution and heat waves is noteworthy.

Related Topics

Related Publications

Related Content

Site Footer


This website is provided by John Wiley & Sons Limited, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 8SQ (Company No: 00641132, VAT No: 376766987)

Published features on are checked for statistical accuracy by a panel from the European Network for Business and Industrial Statistics (ENBIS)   to whom Wiley and express their gratitude. This panel are: Ron Kenett, David Steinberg, Shirley Coleman, Irena Ograjenšek, Fabrizio Ruggeri, Rainer Göb, Philippe Castagliola, Xavier Tort-Martorell, Bart De Ketelaere, Antonio Pievatolo, Martina Vandebroek, Lance Mitchell, Gilbert Saporta, Helmut Waldl and Stelios Psarakis.