A heat wave that has hit the northern hemisphere this week has intensified, with nighttime temperatures soaring and the risk of heart attacks and deaths rising, the World Meteorological Organization said Tuesday.
The WMO has warned that the heat wave is in its early stages, with North America, Asia, North Africa and the Mediterranean forecast to see “days above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for extended periods this week” as the heat wave intensifies. said it does. ”
This means that late-night temperatures could hover in the high 30s in some areas this week.
“Repeated high temperatures at night are particularly dangerous for human health because the body cannot recover from the sustained heat. This leads to an increase in heart attacks and deaths,” said John Nairn, senior heat advisor to the WMO. told reporters in Geneva.
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Panu Sarlist of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said infants, the elderly and people with chronic diseases were particularly at risk.
Experts say more than 60,000 Europeans may have died in last year’s heat wave, despite having the world’s best early warning system. Sahrist said the IFRC has called elderly people in Italy to check on their health, distributed drinking water in Greece, and provided shelter to those affected by wildfires on the Spanish island of La Palma. It is said that they are setting up.
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The United Nations Meteorological Organization said new records could be broken within the next few days. According to the WMO, the previous highest temperature in Europe was 48.8 degrees Celsius, set in Sicily in August 2021, and the world record was 56.7 degrees Celsius, set in Death Valley, California in July 1913.
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“The heat wave in the Mediterranean is big, but nothing compared to the heat wave that hit North Africa,” said WMO’s Nairn. “At the moment we are expanding to Europe. We are in the early stages of this heatwave.”
Asked if the current heatwave is due to climate change, Nairn said the slow-moving, “stagnant” weather system is an anomaly. “These are not the normal weather systems of the past. To change that we need to fix the climate,” he said.