Heat waves will be more frequent until 2060
"Our body's ability to regulate internal temperature is compromised, and this can result in a cascade of diseases," Neira warned.
The wave of heat and fires that Europe is going through is in the spotlight of international meteorological, health and climate organizations. Due to its harshness, extension and duration, this heat wave is an example and prelude of what awaits the planet in the coming years due to climate change.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) of the United Nations convened a press conference to analyze this episode of extreme temperatures that is leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands of hectares burned throughout Europe.
Heat waves will intense
The World Meteorological Organization warns that heat waves will become more frequent and intense until at least 2060, even if climate change mitigation actions are successful.
The WMO Secretary-General, Petteri Taalas, warned that heat waves like the one we are experiencing will become more frequent and intense until 2060. “These types of heat waves will be normal or even stronger. The greater frequency of these trends will continue at least until 2060, regardless of success or not in mitigating climate change,” stressed the expert, who due to the heat that is also suffered in Geneva, with temperatures around 37 degrees, dispensed with the jacket typical of these events and gave the press conference in a short-sleeved shirt.
The head of the WMO pointed out that he hopes that the current heat wave will serve as a “wake-up call” to a world that is not always fully aware of the fight against climate change, although he acknowledged that social concern is greater than it was decades ago.
Taalas warned of the effects of these extreme weather events not only on the health of the population but also on important economic sectors such as agriculture or tourism. “It will not be very comfortable to travel to countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy or Greece if the temperatures are above 40 degrees,” he said.
On behalf of the WHO, the director of Health and Environment of the organization, the Spanish María Neira, intervened in the press conference and pointed out that the current heat wave can have serious consequences for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children or pregnant women.
“Our body’s ability to regulate internal temperature is compromised, and this can result in a cascade of diseases,” Neira warned.
The Spanish expert also highlighted among the most vulnerable those people who suffer from chronic diseases and workers abroad, “sometimes forced to work at high temperatures without adequate equipment.” Neira insisted on the recommendations that many experts have issued these days to better cope with days of high temperatures: stay in cool environments as much as possible, reduce intense physical activity, hydrate, wear appropriate clothing or not consume alcohol.
Although in the long term, according to the expert, the best solution to “survive” these extreme weather events is “to be ambitious when it comes to attacking the causes of global warming, of which we have been alerted for a long time.”
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