The heat waves of the summer in France, Germany, Spain and Great Britain caused more than 20,000 deaths “in excess”, a report compiling official figures said on Thursday.
Temperatures reached almost 40 degrees Celsius or more from Paris to London in 2022 and climatologists from the World Weather Attribution group found what levels that high would have been.”practically impossible” without climate change.
A heat wave in 2003 caused more than 70,000 excess deaths across Europemainly in France, and led many countries to implement measures such as early warning systems, asking people to keep an eye on others, and opening air-conditioned schools.
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This and related action plans may have eased some of the impact of heat waves in 2022, but the death toll was still “higher than expected,” said Chloe Brimicombe, a heat wave researcher at the University of Graz in Austria.
“I consider it to be… the most shocking heat wave since 2003,” he told Reuters.
Because authorities don’t attribute most deaths directly to heat, statisticians use the excess formula to give an estimate, looking at how many more people died in a given period than would be expected compared to a historical baseline. .
High temperatures can cause death by inducing heat stroke, which damages the brain, kidneys, and other organs, but can also trigger other conditions, such as heart attack or respiratory problems.
The World Meteorological Organization said this month that Europe had received more than twice as much heat as the rest of the world in the past three decades, while the Copernicus Climate Change Service said the summer of 2022 was the hottest on record.
France reported about half of the summer’s excess deaths in Western Europe, with 10,420 deaths in total. Excess deaths reached 3,271 in England and Wales over the summer, Britain’s Office for National Statistics reported.
Spain registered 4,655 heat-attributable deaths between June and August, while the German health agency reported 4,500 deaths.