The deadly toll of Europe’s heatwaves: At least 15,000 people have died across the continent because of hot weather in 2022 so far – including more than 3,200 in the UK
- At least 15,000 people have died in Europe because of hot weather in 2022 so far
- Spain & Germany among worst-affected countries — World Health Organization
- Three months from June-August were the hottest in Europe since records began
- Nearly 4,000 deaths in Spain; over 1,000 in Portugal; more than 3,200 in the UK
Heatwaves across Europe have killed at least 15,000 people so far this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said, including more than 3,200 in the UK.
Spain and Germany have been the worst-affected countries, with nearly 4,000 and and around 4,500 deaths due to hot weather in each nation respectively.
The three months from June-August were the hottest in Europe since records began.
It was sot hot the exceptionally high temperatures led to the worst drought the continent has witnessed since the Middle Ages.
‘Based on country data submitted so far, it is estimated that at least 15,000 people died specifically due to the heat in 2022,’ said Hans Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe.
Heatwaves across Europe have killed at least 15,000 people so far this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said, including more than 3,200 in the UK. Pictured: the dried bed of the drought-affected Doubs River is seen in Arcon
Spain and Germany have been the worst-affected countries, with nearly 4,000 and and around 4,500 deaths in each nation respectively. Flames are pictured ripping through tinder-dry woodland in Gironde, in the south of France
WHERE HAVE THE MOST DEATHS OCCURRED?
Germany – about 4,500
Spain – nearly 4,000
UK – more than 3,200
Portugal – more than 1,000
‘Nearly 4,000 deaths in Spain, more than 1,000 in Portugal, more than 3,200 in the United Kingdom, and around 4,500 deaths in Germany were reported by health authorities during the 3 months of summer.’
‘This estimate is expected to increase as more countries report on excess deaths due to heat.’
Successive heatwaves between June and July, which saw temperatures top 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in Britain as the country experienced its hottest day in history, saw some 24,000 excess deaths in Europe.
‘Heat stress, when the body cannot cool itself, is the leading cause of weather-related death in the European Region,’ the WHO said.
It added that extreme temperatures can be a danger to people who suffer from chronic heart disease, breathing problems and diabetes.
WHO said increasing heatwaves and other extreme weather will ‘lead to more diseases and deaths’ in the next decades unless ‘drastic’ action is taken.
Last month it was confirmed that the summer of 2022 was the hottest in Europe’s recorded history.
A series of extreme heatwaves and a long-running drought led to June, July and August breaking the previous high mark for temperature by 0.7° Fahrenheit (0.4° Celsius).
The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said temperatures on the continent had been the ‘highest on record for both the month of August and the summer (June-August) as a whole’.
Britain experienced its hottest day in history this summer. The Wessex Water Sutton Bingham Reservoir near Yeovil in Somerset is pictured during a scorching summer day
Data showed August was the hottest yet recorded in Europe by a ‘substantial margin’, beating the previous record set in August 2018 by 1.4° Fahrenheit (0.8° Celsius).
Globally, experts said August was the third warmest yet recorded.
In Britain, the highest temperature in history was recorded on July 19 as the mercury hit 104.5°F (40.3°C) in Coningsby, Lincolnshire.
This was a big leap over the previous record of 38.7C set in 2019.
The European summer this year is thought to be the driest since a mega-drought that hit the continent in 1540.
THE PARIS AGREEMENT: A GLOBAL ACCORD TO LIMIT TEMPERATURE RISES THROUGH CARBON EMISSION REDUCTION TARGETS
The Paris Agreement, which was first signed in 2015, is an international agreement to control and limit climate change.
It hopes to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C (3.6ºF) ‘and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F)’.
It seems the more ambitious goal of restricting global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) may be more important than ever, according to previous research which claims 25 per cent of the world could see a significant increase in drier conditions.
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change has four main goals with regards to reducing emissions:
1) A long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels
2) To aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change
3) Governments agreed on the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognising that this will take longer for developing countries
4) To undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science
Source: European Commission