Europe is on red alert as a heatwave raises health concerns. On Tuesday, the World Meteorological Organisation warned of an increased mortality risk as extreme weather gripped Europe, Asia, and the United States.
According to forecasters, temperatures could reach more than 47 degrees Celsius (116 degrees Fahrenheit) on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia and 40 degrees in several Italian cities, including 42–43 degrees in the Lazio region, including Rome.
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) predicted that the heatwave in the northern hemisphere would intensify as Europe’s summer tourist season reached its zenith. In Europe alone, 61,000 individuals may have perished in heatwaves last year.
Italy, northeastern Spain, Croatia, Serbia, southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro received red alerts from the EU’s emergency response coordination center for elevated temperatures.
Temperatures reached 53 degrees in California’s Death Valley and over 52 degrees in China’s northwest this summer, coinciding with fatal wildfires from Greece to the Swiss Alps and catastrophic flooding in India and South Korea.
They have added new urgency to this week’s discussions between the United States and China, the world’s leading emitters of greenhouse gases.
John Kerry, the U.S. special envoy for climate change, met with Chinese officials in Beijing and expressed optimism that climate cooperation could help mend strained ties between the two countries.
As the heatwave intensifies, temperatures in North America, Asia, North Africa, and the Mediterranean will remain above 40°C for several days this week, according to the WMO.
The WMO predicted that overnight minimum temperatures would also reach record highs, increasing the risk of heart attacks and fatalities.
“While most attention is focused on maximum daytime temperatures, overnight temperatures pose the greatest health risks, especially for vulnerable populations,” the report stated.
Tourism organizations predicted that the heat in Europe could also result in a lasting shift in tourist preferences, with more people selecting more relaxed destinations or traveling in the spring or fall.
In Spain, in the final stages of an election campaign preceding Sunday’s vote, politicians have adapted to the scorching heat by altering the location and scheduling of their rallies, restricting outdoor campaigning, and shifting to online events.
hottest summers ever
Scientists have long warned that climate change, primarily caused by greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels, will increase the frequency, severity, and lethality of heat waves. According to them, governments must take drastic measures to reduce emissions.
According to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, the summers of 2022 and 2021 were the warmest on record for the continent. Sicily recorded Europe’s most fantastic temperature of 48.8 degrees Celsius two years ago.
In Italy, tourists have attempted to cool off by splashing in Rome’s fountains and standing beneath gigantic fans installed outside the Colosseum. Some were forced to wait more than an hour for taxis outside Rome’s central train station due to the city’s endemic taxi shortage.
On Tuesday, the health ministry issued red weather alerts for twenty of the country’s twenty-seven significant cities, which is anticipated to rise to twenty-three on Wednesday.
Carlo Spanu, from the Italian air force’s weather service, stated, “It is not ruled out that we will exceed 47 degrees, and there could be some places in Sulcis and Campidano (in southern Sardinia) that could make us record an even higher value.”
“The record temperature for Sardinia is 47.7 degrees. Nothing is preventing us from surpassing or matching it,” he said.
Due to the humidity, some travelers have returned home early. Anita Elshoy and her husband returned to Norway a week earlier than expected from their vacation destination of Vasanello, a village north of Rome.
Elshoy described her heat-related symptoms as “a great deal of head pain, swollen legs and fingers, and an increasing dizziness.”
On Tuesday, the northeastern Spanish regions of Catalonia and Aragon and the Mediterranean island of Mallorca were on high alert for temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius. The Catalonian Weather Service reported that the Boadella reservoir near the village of Darius attained 45 degrees Celsius, the highest temperature ever recorded in the region.
According to the national weather agency AEMET, the temperature did not drop below 25 degrees Celsius in many regions of the Mediterranean coast and the interior of the Iberian peninsula on Monday night.
Mercedes, a 60-year-old secretary in Madrid, said, “It was difficult, but I was able to sleep with the assistance of a ceiling fan.”
In Greece, residents near a forest fire in Dervenochoria, north of Athens, were warned to cover their doors and windows as smoke approached.
Giorgos Nikolau, 89, stood in his charred 32-year-old home in Ano Lagonissi and described how he escaped the fire wearing only the bathing trunks and shirt he was wearing.
“I have nothing else, not even another pair of sandals. Nothing. “I am done,” he stated.
As the first typhoon of the year made landfall in China on Tuesday, trees fell on vehicles, a whale washed ashore, and a freezer full of ice cream floated away in floodwaters as Typhoon Talim moved across southern provinces.