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Climate climate General

Climate change brings deadly heat waves

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by: Hans van der Broek
climate change brings deadly heat waves

In the South of Europe, temperatures could reach almost 50C this weekend.

Tourist companies all over the world have warn tourists especially for the Iberian Peninsula where earlier records almost got beaten last weekend. Large parts of Europe expected extreme temperatures the weekend of the 4th and 5th of August. And it got hot! Temperatures got close to 50C in Spain and Portugal. So, could we record the highest temperatures ever measured since we start tracking the weather?

many people on a beach #climatechange

In the Netherlands the summer of 1976 was the hottest till now. In Greece in 1977 measured 48C in Athene.
With the wind coming out of the south a lot of hot air got brought to the South of Europe from the African continent. For people in this area, it is not oncoming to have temperatures around the 40C but for people on holiday from the North of Europe, it was hard to handle. For elderly people these high temperatures brought them in a difficult situation because they are more vulnerable for dehydration and heatstroke.

The sustained heat from the last month has brought farmers in great difficulty. Devastated wheat- and corn fields and cows who are held inside their stables because the grassland does not supply enough food anymore. Expected is that many animals need to be slaughtered just because there is not enough hay to feed them next winter time.

What makes heatwaves so deadly?

The human body functions as best around 37C. Researches have been analysed many historical heatwaves to find out which conditions are the worst to be risky for humans. 36 Countries were included in the investigation with almost 800 heatwaves. They discovered a certain maximum where a heatwave gets deadly. Because all this information finds its origin by ‘real people’ it makes it very credible. Researchers found out how common their conditions are already around the globe. It’s not only about temperature but especially about humidity. One of the most important ‘tools’ our body has to get rid of it’s body heat is sweating. When surrounding air is already saturated with moister it’s getting more difficult for a body to release its heat.
Because of the results of the investigation, researches can use future climate models to see how it will play out till the end of this century.

Deadly heat will be more common by climate change

At the moment around a third of worlds population experiences 20 days or more of deadly heat which will be more than doubled at the end of this century. Producing less Greenhouse gasses will just help a little. It feels that a certain complicated weather meganism has set in motion which can not be stopped by any Paris Agreement or what so ever. The most important issue is that people learn to adapt and that governments stop to focus on small solutions which individuals can bring about but start to ‘force’ large industries to change their polluting habits.

The tropics

In the tropics there will be in the future in summertime constant temperatures in the danger zone. This causing a lot of death because of heatstroke and a shortage of (clean) drinking water. Also, the food production will be under pressure. For example, if rice does not cool down under a certain temperature at night the grain will grow slower and contains less nutrients.

Killer heat caused by climate change


Bushfire by #climatechange

Bushfires are prone at the moment in Sweden because of the high temperatures. About 50 bushfires have been counted which is very unusualy. Normally the temperature sticks around 20C but now it goes all the way up till 32C.


In Quebec almost 100 people got killed by the high temperatures in July.


In Algeria got Africa’s heat record broken. 51C got reached.


Kyoto in japan experienced about 7 days close to 40C. More than 30 people died because of the heat but even more by following heavy rainfall, floods and landslides.

It’s hard to deny that ‘something’ is changing and that’s our climate. What ever the reason is; nature, man-made or both we have to learn to deal with it. Climate change is happening. The big question is; will humanity learn to adapt to the new circumstances. Nature will automatically do it. Nature has no economical, political boundaries. Sure, species will disappear, migrate and new ones will emergence.

At the end we can ask ourselves, what brought humanity for good to ‘our home’, the Earth.

What do you think is necessary to tackle climate change problems? How can we learn to adapt and have the agreements we have made in the past – like the Paris Agreement - any value or are they just ‘nice words’ to keep the mass quit and misinformed?

We are currius to your comments.

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World traveler, entrepreneur and environmental activist. Has countless ideas and set up several businesses in the Netherlands and abroad. Has an opinion about everything and unlimited thoughts about a better world. He likes hiking and climbed numerous 5.000 m.
World traveler, entrepreneur and environmental activist. Has countless ideas and set up several businesses in the Netherlands and abroad. Has an opinion about everything and unlimited thoughts about a better world. He likes hiking and climbed numerous 5.000 m.
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