February 25, 2021

Heat waves are increasingly frequent and with higher temperatures

Heat waves, such as that experienced in much of Western Europe in the last week of June, occur ten times more often than a hundred years ago, according to a European report that also states that the temperature is 4 degrees higher than in the same period.

In a report prepared by the World Weather Attribution organization, the researchers acknowledge that, although it is still too early to compare all the information, heat waves are occurring more and more frequently.

In the last week of June temperature records were broken in Europe, with values ​​higher than 40 degrees in cities of Spain, France, Switzerland or the Czech Republic.

In France, the record of 2003, when they registered 44.1 degrees in the town of Conqueyrac, Languedoc-Roussillon region, was exceeded this year with the record of 45.9 degrees in Gallargues-le-Montueux.

In Switzerland, new records were recorded at 40 stations, and six new records at six mountain resorts.

Also in Austria and Holland the whole month of June was the warmest ever recorded.

For the study, "well-reviewed methodologies" have been used on the influence of human activity in the provocation of the heat wave.

The researchers point out that the definition of heat wave depends mainly on the location, the measurement station, its intensity and its duration and, they consider, "undoubtedly", the human activity as the cause of this increase, as well as the change climate.

The researchers used data on average temperatures over three days, which are the most important impacts on the health of the population.

For this, they took into account two spatial scales: those of all France (where the maximum values ​​were recorded) and those of Toulouse (south), considering only the heat waves of the month of June because "they have a different impact and tendency from those of July and August".

These data show how frequent heat waves can become today in relation to 1901 and that they register an increase of four degrees of temperature in June.

The heat waves "are deadly," they maintain, although their total impact can only be known after the analysis of the mortality rate, a situation that is aggravated by climate change.

But there are also other factors that cause heat waves to see their aggravated effects, such as a population of advanced age, the progressive urbanization of certain areas, the structural change of society and the lower preparation for this type of phenomena.

In France and other countries, the preparation and implementation of plans against heat waves has made it possible to reduce the impact of heat waves and they have become important factors in the detection of risks.

Another important factor was the warning in advance of the heat wave by the Météo-France meteorological service.

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