Deadly heatwave ‘Lucifer’ hits Europe

Series Title
Series Details 07.08.17
Publication Date 07/08/2017
Content Type

Many countries in Europe, in particular those in southern Europe, faced periods of exceptionally high temperatures and dry periods during the summer of 2017. Countries affected included France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and a number of Balkan countries. Temperatures well over 40 degrees celius were commonly reported.

A number of countries suffered from serious forest fires. There were heatwave-related deaths and other health issues for some. WHO Europe said 'Such heat leads to increased concerns for the health and well-being of vulnerable groups such small children, the elderly and those who have chronic medical conditions'.

The WHO went on 'Heatwaves have caused more fatalities in Europe in recent decades than any other extreme weather event. Prolonged and sustained heatwaves are also occurring more frequently in parts of Europe and can largely be attributed to climate change. Their impact is expected to increase in the future, according to the projected rise in average temperatures'.

Farmers were affected as crops and animals suffered. Transport networks were disrupted.

The heatwave coincided with the publication of an article by scientists in The Lancet Planetary Health in August 2017 which suggested that global warming could result in rapidly rising costs of weather-related hazards to human beings in Europe unless adequate adaptation measures were taken.

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Related Links
The New York Times, 06.08.17: Europe Swelters Under a Heat Wave Called ‘Lucifer’
The New York Times, 28.07.17: It’s Not Your Imagination. Summers Are Getting Hotter®ion=Marginalia&pgtype=article
The Guardian, 04.08.17: Extreme heat warnings issued in Europe as temperatures pass 40C
Al Jazeera, 04.08.17: European heatwave deaths could skyrocket: climate study
The Lancet Planetary Health, Vol.1, No. 5, e200–e208, August 2017: Increasing risk over time of weather-related hazards to the European population: a data-driven prognostic study
ESO: Background information: Euroheat: Improve public health responses to weather extremes and in particular to heat-waves (WHO, 2006)
World Health Organisation: Climate change
WHO: Regional Office for Europe: Health topics: Environment and health: Climate change: Public health advice as heatwave continues across southern and central Europe, 13.07.17

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