Officials issued a warning to locals and visitors flocking to European hotspots on Tuesday, advising them to stay indoors during the hottest hours as the region experiences a record heat wave as wildfires rage in Greece, Spain, and Switzerland.
Red Cross teams in Portugal used social media to warn people not to leave their dogs or young children in parked cars, while civil protection officers in Italy kept an eye out for anyone who were struggling from the heat in central Rome’s crowds. Volunteers distributed water to the needy in Greece, and in Spain they warned people to avoid breathing in fire smoke.
Panu Saaristo, the emergency health team leader for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, stated during a briefing in Geneva that “heat waves are really an invisible killer.” “Every summer here in Europe, the temperatures get hotter and hotter for longer periods of time.”
The recent heat wave is anticipated to last for days in a number of southern European countries. According to the U.N. meteorological service, climate change-amped temperatures in Europe might surpass the 48.8-degree Celsius (119.8-degree Fahrenheit) record set in Sicily two years ago.
Civil safety workers distributed reusable water bottles at 28 well-known locations in Rome as worries about a rise in fatalities due to the excessive heat increased. Authorities also urged locals and visitors to utilise the city’s historic center’s numerous public drinking fountains, which are a characteristic feature of the Italian capital.
Tuesday, Fausto Alberetto, who was travelling to Rome from the Piedmont region of northern Italy, sought several volunteers for assistance in using an app to locate the closest “nasone.” He claimed that prior to his journey, reading about the heat wave did not adequately prepare him for Rome’s actual 41 C (105 F) temperatures.
“We acquired knowledge, and we were ready. Alberetto observed as he strolled past Piazza Venezia in the centre of Rome, “But it is one thing to hear it or read it, it is another thing to feel it. “This place is truly awful.”
According to Giuseppe Napolitano, the director of Rome’s civil protection, volunteers for the organisation found four persons who appeared to be sweltering, but none of them were in critical condition.
Health officials in Cyprus have revealed that a 90-year-old man died over the weekend and six other senior citizens were admitted to the hospital after suffering from heatstroke at home last week when temperatures above 43 degrees Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit).
Around the world, heat records are breaking, and according to scientists, there is a good likelihood that 2023 will go down in history as the year with the highest temperatures ever recorded, dating back to the middle of the 19th century.
According to preliminary data from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, the world’s average temperature last month may have broken the previous record for June. The World Meteorological Organisation forecast that this summer would set a number of heat records. Unprecedented sea surface temperatures and little Arctic sea ice, according to the U.N. weather bureau, are mostly to blame.
The world is becoming hotter due to human-caused climate change brought on by the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas, which is intensified by the cyclical El Nino weather phenomena. However, the present El Nino has only been going for a short while, is still weak to moderate, and won’t peak until the winter.
Forecasts indicated that temperatures will remain over 40 C (104 F) not only in the Mediterranean but also in North America, Asia, and North Africa.
“These weather systems are not like the ones in the past. They have arrived as a result of climate change, according to John Nairn, the World Meteorological Organization’s senior expert on high heat. “It is global warming, and it will last for a while.”
Since the 1980s, simultaneous heat waves have multiplied by six, according to Nairn, “and the trend line isn’t changing.”
Scientists predict that 61,000 people died from heat-related causes in Europe last year as a result of the continent’s gruelling summer. The continent sweltered in 2019, when July set a new record for the hottest month on record, with even Arctic settlements experiencing record-breaking heat.
When a mass of hot air rose from Africa in 2018, it sparked forest fires in the Iberian Peninsula, shattering temperature records in Spain and Portugal.
A catastrophic heat wave in 2003 left a lasting impression on most of Europe that hot weather might be more than just a nuisance.
Around 15,000 heat-related deaths occurred in France, the country hardest hit, many of them involving elderly individuals left in uncooled dwellings and nursing homes. The deaths caused the nation to reevaluate its approach to dealing with severe heat and implement a warning system.
Other nations are taking action to safeguard public assistance during the oppressive summer of 2023.
In order to help employees cope with the extreme heat, Greek authorities this week announced modifications to working hours and the closure of the Acropolis and other historic sites in the afternoon. By the end of the week, areas of central and southern Greece might experience temperatures as high as 44 C (111 F), according to forecasts for a second heat wave that will start on Thursday.
For a second day, three sizable flames raged outside of Athens. After spending the night on beaches, hotels, and public buildings due to a fire that had forced thousands of residents to leave coastal districts south of the city, they finally got back to their homes on Tuesday.
With projections calling for peak temperatures of 43 C (109 F) in places along the Ebro River in the northeast and on the island of Mallorca, the majority of Spain is on high to extreme heat alert. Spain is also experiencing a protracted drought, which has raised worries about the possibility of flames.
Approximately 400 firemen worked to put out a wildfire on La Palma in Spain’s Canary Islands that had been burning for four days straight with the help of nine water-dumping helicopters. Authorities claimed that despite setting up a perimeter around the fire, it was still burning.
A wildfire that overtook a mountainside in the southwest Wallis region of Switzerland prompted the evacuation of four villages and hamlets, and around 150 firefighters, police, army, and other emergency teams from Switzerland spread out to fight it on Tuesday.
The 48.8 degrees Celsius (119.8 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature recorded on August 11, 2021, in Sicily, was confirmed as the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe by an expert committee, according to a study released by the World Meteorological Organisation on Monday. There isn’t currently a complete report available.