Europe is in the midst of a summer of heat, with two major heat waves in the past two weeks. The latest heat wave, dubbed “Charon” by Italian weather forecasters, is expected to bring temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) in some parts of the continent.
Some of the most affected countries, including Italy, Spain, and Greece, have faced days of unyielding heat.
This extreme heat is not just a nuisance but also a serious health hazard. The elderly, the sick, and young children are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses. Symptoms of heat stroke can include headache, dizziness, nausea, and confusion. In severe cases, heat stroke can be fatal.
In addition to the health risks, extreme heat can lead to wildfires. The heat and dry conditions create the perfect conditions for fires to start and spread. Wildfires have already been raging in southern Europe, and the risk of more fires is high.
So what can you do to cope with the extreme heat? Here are some tips:
- Drink plenty of fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
- Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day.
- Stay in a cool place if possible. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and a hat if you have to go outside.
- Use a fan or air conditioner to stay cool.
- Check on elderly neighbors and relatives to make sure they are staying safe.
If you experience any symptoms of heat-related illness, seek medical attention immediately.
The extreme heat that Europe is experiencing is a clear sign of the effects of climate change.
Climate change is causing the Earth’s atmosphere to warm, leading to more extreme weather events. These events can include heat waves, droughts, floods, and wildfires.
For example, the 2021 Pacific Northwest heat wave was the hottest on record in the region, and it is believed to be made more likely by climate change. The heat wave caused widespread power outages and heat-related deaths.
Indeed, recent history is replete with examples of extreme weather situations such as;
The 2017 hurricane season which was the most active on record in the Atlantic Ocean.
The 2018 California wildfires, which were the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s history.
The 2020 Australian bushfires, which were the largest on record in Australia.
As the planet warms, we can expect to see more frequent and intense heat waves and other extreme weather events.
Not all extreme weather events are caused by climate change. However, it makes these events more likely and severe.
A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, which can lead to intense precipitation events. The warmer weather also leads to unstable weather patterns, making it more likely for storms to form.