Rising Heat Stress Threatens Europe, Warns Scientific Report

Greece heat 1

Europe is grappling with escalating heat stress, a consequence of soaring temperatures driven by climate change, as outlined in a joint report released on Monday by the EU's Copernicus climate monitoring service and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The report underscores the severity of last year's extreme weather events, notably a July heatwave that engulfed 41% of southern Europe in intense to extreme heat stress - marking the largest affected area in European history.

Extreme heat poses significant health hazards, particularly to outdoor workers, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Tragic instances, like the death of a 44-year-old man painting road markings in Lodi, Italy, underscore the lethal consequences of heat stress.

Measuring the environmental impact on the human body, heat stress factors in temperature, humidity, and physiological response to determine a "feels like" temperature. In 2023, regions across Spain, France, Italy, and Greece endured up to ten days of extreme heat stress, surpassing a "feels like" temperature of 46 degrees Celsius, necessitating immediate preventive measures against heat-related illnesses.

The report reveals a stark reality: heat-related deaths in Europe have surged by approximately 30% over the past two decades. Against this backdrop, the EU's environment agency has called for proactive measures to bolster healthcare systems in response to climate change and advocated for EU-wide regulations safeguarding outdoor workers from extreme heat.

Last year marked the planet's hottest on record, with Europe emerging as the fastest-warming continent. Greenhouse gas emissions stand out as the primary driver of this unprecedented heat, exacerbated by factors such as the El Niño weather pattern.

Furthermore, the report links rising temperatures to a surge in extreme weather events like flooding, attributing this to the atmosphere's enhanced moisture-holding capacity, which culminates in intensified rainfall during release.

As Europe grapples with the escalating impacts of climate change, urgent action and comprehensive strategies are imperative to mitigate heat-related health risks and build resilience against future extreme weather events.

(Source: Reuters)


No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024