Science & Tech

Europe's heat getting so high human body can't cope say experts

Europe's heat getting so high human body can't cope say experts
Europe suffered record number of 'extreme heat stress' days in 2023
FMM - F24 Video Clips / VideoElephant

Europe is experiencing a record rise in cases of health-harming heat stress, according to experts, meaning the human body can't cope with it and this is set to continue to get worse others have added.

The Copernicus Climate Change Service and World Meteorological Organisation have released the 2023 European State of the Climate report.

There are a number of key findings from it, including that 2023 was the joint warmest year on record for the continent, average sea surface temperature was at its highest and adverse health impacts related to extreme weather and climate events are rising.

Carlo Buontemo, director at EU Copernicus Climate Change Service, reportedly said: "Some of the events of 2023 took the scientific community by surprise because of their intensity, speed of onset, extent and duration."

Europe is the fastest warming continent in the world.

A July 2023 heatwave pushed 41 per cent of southern Europe into strong, very strong or extreme heat stress - the biggest area of Europe under such conditions in any day on record.

Extreme heat poses a particular risk to outdoor workers, the elderly and people with existing conditions; parts of Italy recorded seven per cent more deaths than normal then.

Heat stress measures the impact the environment has on the body to establish a 'feels like' response - this is worked out by combining factors such as temperature, humidity and the body's response.

2023 had a record number of days with extreme heat stress with an increasing trend in the number of days of at least strong heat stress.

Heat-related deaths have increased by 30 per cent in the last 20 years.

It's expected these trends are only going to get worse.

Richard Allen, climate scientist at the University of Reading, reportedly said: "We only expect the severity of the extremes to get worse.

"We expect there to be wilder swings between hot, dry and wet conditions."

The report also found the Alps saw 'exceptional' glacier ice loss, much of Europe experienced fewer days with snow than average and in an effort to become more sustainable, there is a record proportion of actual electricity generation by renewables at 43 per cent.

There was seven per cent more rainfall than average in 2023 too.

Mauro Facchini, head of unit for Earth observation at the Directorate General for Defence Industry and Space (DG DEFIS), European Commission, said: "The data presented in the European State of the Climate is alarming but this research is also a vital tool in our aims to transition towards sustainable energy, reduce net greenhouse gas emissions, and become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050."

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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