More than 61,000 people died from heat in Europe during the summer of 2022, according to a vast study published Monday in Nature Medicine.
Without adequate measures, the continent could face more than 94,000 deaths due to heat waves in 2040, according to the study, prepared by scientists from a French public health institute (Inserm) and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal).
The summer of 2022 was the hottest on record to date in Europewith successive heat waves that caused records of temperature, drought and forest fires.
The scientists analyzed temperature and mortality data for the period 2015-2022 in 823 regions of 35 European countries, with a total population of more than 543 million people.
Based on these data, they built epidemiological models that make it possible to predict mortality attributable to temperatures for each region and week of the summer period (boreal) last year.
Overall, the analysis reveals that among on May 30 and September 4, 2022 there were 61,672 deaths attributable to heat in Europe.
A particularly intense heat wave, between July 18 and 24, caused 11,637 deaths.
“It is a very high number of deaths,” Hicham Achebak, a researcher at Inserm and a participant in the study, told AFP.
“We already knew about the effects of heat on mortality from the 2003 precedent, but with this analysis it is clear that much work remains to be done to protect the population,” he added.
The excess mortality of the summer of 2003, when Europe suffered one of the worst heat waves in its history, it exceeded the figure of 70,000 deaths.