Europe Swelters Under Record Heat
A heatwave that struck Europe caused record-breaking temperatures for the month of June. The hottest month on record provoked higher mortality rates and lower productivity. Although the heatwave was caused by a mass of hot air coming from the Sahara Desert, climate change has its finger prints all over it.
Temperatures in Europe were more than two degrees Celsius above normal for the month of June. This resulted in the hottest European June ever recorded, beating the previous record (June 1999) by an entire degree Celsius. Furthermore, this past June was more than three degrees Celsius hotter than the average temperature from 1850-1900. Although one and three degrees Celsius are not generally considered huge numbers, they are massive across an entire month. The hike in temperature causes serious issues for a country.
Between mortality rates increasing, productivity decreasing, and schools closing, heatwaves create problems. From a health standpoint, heatwaves cause dehydration, overheating, and heat exhaustion and heatstroke, and the main people affected are people who already have problems with their heart or breathing. Most years in the United States heatwaves are deadlier than tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes combined. The reason why heatwaves do not get as much attention is because deaths do not usually show up in statistics until well after the event.
Additionally, economists have found out that in hotter times the economic output of a country decreases. According to findings, when exposed to uncomfortable heat, human physiology makes us less productive. In this case, France closed thousands of schools and moved a national exam due to the temperature. Thus, the question arises: why did the heatwave occur, and can it be stopped?
The heatwave occurred because of hot winds coming up from the Sahara Desert, however this does not mean humans are innocent in causation of the heat wave. As the planet continues to warm due to greenhouse gases, more extreme weather events are expected. It has been estimated that the heat wave in Europe was five times more likely to happen due to climate change. Moreover, a heatwave of this magnitude is ten times more likely to occur today than it was a century ago. As global carbon emissions continue to rise, we can only expect more record-shattering months in the future.
In efforts to counteract climate change, people are pouring more money into clean technology. Investments into such technology hit a high of 9.2 billion dollars in 2018. However, climate change is getting worse faster than clean technology is getting better, and at our current rate it is hard to foresee anything but more shattering temperatures.
Written by Willie Turchetta, Edited by Alexander Fleiss