Europe's summer 2022 heat waves caused 61,600 deaths Researchers estimate that this year will see more of the same!
Jerzu on the island of Sardinia set a new European July heat record on July 24, topping out at 118.8 degrees. Across the Mediterranean, Algiers, Algeria (119.7 degrees); and Tunis, Tunisia (120.2 degrees) each set all-time records. A wet-bulb temperature of 35 °C, or around 95 °F, is pretty much the absolute limit of human tolerance, says Zach Schlader, a physiologist at Indiana University Bloomington. Above that, your body won't be able to lose heat to the environment efficiently enough to maintain its core temperature. The most deaths will occur with people over 55 and children under 5! A report published this week attributed 61,000 deaths in Europe to its searing temperatures last summer. This year threatens to repeat the calamity. In some parts of southern Europe, heat waves started as early as May.
The current extreme heat is due to an anticyclone, a high-pressure system, that is dominating the upper atmosphere over southern Europe. As well as compressing and warming air, high-pressure systems are associated with reduced cloud cover, allowing more solar radiation to reach the ground. Simultaneously we see a greening of the Sahara from increased humidity and by the strengthening and northward expansion of the African monsoon in response to orbital forcing. Desert greening is substantially a function of water availability. If sufficient water for irrigation is at hand, any hot, cold, sandy or rocky desert can be greened. Water can be made available through saving, reuse, rainwater harvesting, desalination, or direct use of seawater for salt-loving plants.
Oceans all over the world are experiencing warmer-than-normal temperatures, but waters off the southern U.S. could be on the brink of an ocean heat wave emergency as temperatures rise to unprecedented levels.
More than 40% of all global ocean temperatures are currently experiencing a heat wave, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Drought and desertification threatens to degrade land in Europe especially . The scale of the issue is sometimes under-appreciated, but drylands currently cover over 41% of the Earth's terrestrial land surface.Southern Europe is all set to face another year of brutal summers and heatwaves, triggering fears that Europe might be on its way to facing water shortages of a level never seen in decades. The trend, attributed to climate change, is expected to spell doom for Europe's agriculture as well as the power industry. countries expected to be hit the hardest are Portugal, Spain, Italy, Malta, Albania, and Greece. Up until recently, the Sirocco hot wind that originates in the heart of the Sahara blows over Italy, going up to the interior of the Alpine arc (Po Valley).
The Alps prevent the Sirocco from spreading to the rest of Europe. And, conversely, the Alps and the Pyrenees protect the Italian and Iberian peninsulas from the rains and icy winds from the south of France such as the Mistral and the Tramontane. When the Mistral and the Tramontane are blowing, this provokes an "upwelling" phenomenon on the French coast. They push the surface waters out to sea and bring deeper, cooler waters up to the seaside. Consequently, the temperature of the waters of the French coasts are therefore very cool even in summer, and not representative of the rest of the Mediterranean.Climate change affects all regions around the world. Polar ice shields are melting and the sea is rising. In some regions, extreme weather events and rainfall are becoming more common while others are experiencing more extreme heat waves and droughts. Climate change is taking a major human, economic and environmental toll in Europe, the fastest warming continent of the world. Sea surface temperatures around Europe reached new highs, accompanied by marine heatwaves. Glacier melt was unprecedented.
Europe has been warming twice as much as the global average since the 1980s, with far-reaching impacts on the region’s socio-economic fabric and ecosystems. In 2022, Europe was approximately 2.3 °C above the pre-industrial (1850-1900) average used as a baseline for the Paris Agreement on climate change. And suffered over 60,000 deaths due to extreme heat!
But, in a sign of hope for the future, renewable energy generated more electricity than polluting fossil gas for the first time last year. Wind and solar power generated 22.3% of European Union (EU) electricity in 2022, overtaking fossil gas (20%). But its not enough survival is dependent on Air conditioning as without it the human body cannot survive prolonged extreme temperatures.