| 27 February 2024, Tuesday |

Extreme heat caused 70,000 excess deaths in Europe in 2022

A recent study revealed that extreme heat might have led to approximately 70,000 additional deaths in Europe in 2022. Scientists from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) updated their initial calculation of 61,000 fatalities, adjusting their methodology for assessing heat-related mortality.
The researchers said the previous framework took into account the weekly data but now they were relying on daily data.

The new framework is based on daily temperatures and mortality records from 147 regions in 16 European countries.
According to Copernicus, the EU’s earth observation programme, the year 2022 saw Europe witness the second-hottest year on record, with temperature around 0.9C above average and summer temperature at 1.4C above average.

Earlier, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Copernicus said in a joint statement that Europe is the world’s fastest-warming continent, warming twice as much as the global average since the 1980s.
“The record-breaking heat stress that Europeans experienced in 2022 was one of the main drivers of weather-related excess deaths in Europe,” said Dr Carlo Buontempo, the director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service in a June statement.

“Our current understanding of the climate system and its evolution informs us that these kinds of events are part of a pattern that will make heat stress extremes more frequent and more intense across the region,” he added.

Heat-related deaths to become annual phenomenon
Earlier, researchers at ISGlobal and Inserm said in July that Europe could see as many as 68,000 heat-related excess deaths each year by 2030.

By 2040, the figure could further swell to 94,000, unless global governments take radical steps to check the carbon emissions.
There are “improvements in the quality of houses, the insulation, ventilation and also a more clever design of cities. These among many others are tools at various different levels that could be implemented to reduce to increase resilience and reduce the impacts,” said Joan Ballester Claramunt, a researcher at ISGlobal.

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