Hotter Than Ever: Record-Breaking Temperatures in Southern Europe and Northwestern Africa

The temperatures in southern Europe and northwestern Africa have been rising to over 40 degrees Celsius due to a heatwave. The heatwave has affected several countries in the region, with some areas experiencing record high temperatures. Climate change is believed to be a contributing factor to the heatwave, with temperatures up to 6 degrees Fahrenheit (3.5 degrees Celsius) higher than they would have been without climate change. The impact of climate change on the region is expected to continue, with mean temperatures and hot extremes projected to increase in all land regions in Africa.

High temperatures in southern Europe and northwestern Africa can pose several health risks. The range of health effects of high ambient temperatures includes discomfort, severe illnesses requiring hospital care, mortality, and exacerbation of existing chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, cerebrovascular disease, and diabetes-related conditions. Exposure to heat can cause severe symptoms such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, dehydration, acute cerebrovascular accidents, and contribute to thrombogenesis (blood clots) . People with chronic diseases that take daily medications have a greater risk of heat-related illnesses. The health impact of a heatwave depends on the intensity and duration of the temperature, the acclimatization and adaptation of the population, and the infrastructure and preparedness. Heatwaves can burden health and emergency services and also increase strain on water, energy, and transportation resulting in power shortages or even blackouts. Food and livelihood security may also be strained if people lose their crops or livestock due to extreme heat.

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