Heatwave Trend in Europe To Continue Until 2060s, Says UN Agency
According to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) of the United Nations, the frequency of heatwaves in western Europe caused by climate change is increasing, and the trend is likely to continue until at least the 2060s. The agency said the current heatwave should serve as a "wake-up call" for nations that continue to emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
According to UN News, the United Kingdom at London's Heathrow airport recorded its highest-ever temperature of just over 40 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, while temperatures are likely to remain above average until the middle of next week. The excessive heat in western Europe is intensifying the deadly wildfires in France and Spain.
Petteri Taalas, the Secretary-General of the WMO, said: “The negative trend in climate will continue at least until the 2060s, independent of our success in climate mitigation."
According to the United Nations' weather agency, the trend is associated with the observed global warming that may be related to human activity, causing significant concern for the future of the planet.
"We are expecting to see major impacts on agriculture," said Taalas. He added that a large amount of Europe's harvest had been destroyed due to recent heatwaves.
According to Petteri Taalas, this heatwave will have an additional negative impact on agricultural output, which is already experiencing a global food crisis as a result of the conflict in Ukraine.
The WMO chief noted, “We have already lost the game concerning the melting of glaciers. We expect that the melting of glaciers will continue for the next hundreds of years or even the next thousands of years... Sea level rise will continue for the same period."
In addition, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that heatwaves act as a sort of atmospheric lid, trapping pollutants and degrading air quality, which has detrimental health implications, particularly for the elderly and other vulnerable populations. In 2003, over 70,000 individuals perished during Europe's terrible heatwave.
The Director for Public and Environmental Health at the World Health Organisation, Maria Neira, warned that climate change is detrimental to human health in a variety of ways, not only through heatwaves, which have direct effects but also in other areas of critical healthcare, such as an increase in illness rates.
Neira noted that there would unquestionably be a water shortage and that "reliable access to food and water is at risk," as well as agricultural production levels. According to her, 99 per cent of the world's population breathes air that does not comply with WHO health standards, which has a substantial negative impact on chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
The WHO official emphasised, “The best solution to this will be, again, being very ambitious in tackling the causes of this global warming.”
The protracted heatwaves in the coming weeks and the difficulties faced by healthcare providers in meeting the rising demand will certainly result in an increase in mortality among the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.