Wildfires across southern Europe amid scorching heatwave – in pictures

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Extreme weather across southern Europe has spawned and fanned numerous wildfires, including at the beach resort of Kalamos near Athens and in central Portugal.

Generally, there is a very well documented scientific evidence that climate change has been increasing the length of the fire season, the size of the area burned each year and the number of wildfires. Wildfires are typically either started accidentally by humans – such as a burning cigarette carelessly tossed out of a window – or by natural causes like lightning.

Flames and smoke plumes ascend from Kalamos, seen from the island of Evia, opposite

Especially, here in Greece, the situation is very serious.  The fire started in Kalamos, a coastal holiday spot some 45 km (30 miles) northeast of the Athens, and has spread to three more towns, damaging dozens of homes and burning thousands of hectares of pine forest. A state of emergency has been declared in the area.

Also, across Greece, firefighters were battling more than 55 forest fires, an outbreak fed by dry winds and hot weather that fanned blazes in the Peloponnese and on the Ionian islands of Zakynthos and Kefalonia.

Here, there are some pictures of the fires in Greece, but also in Portugal: https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2017/aug/15/wildfires-across-southern-european-amid-scorching-heatwave-in-pictures

 

 

 

Climate change to cause humid heatwaves that will kill even healthy people

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Extreme heatwaves that kill even healthy people within hours will strike parts of the Indian subcontinent unless global carbon emissions are cut sharply and soon, according to new research.

Even outside of these hotspots, three-quarters of the 1.7bn population – particularly those farming in the Ganges and Indus valleys – will be exposed to a level of humid heat classed as posing “extreme danger” towards the end of the century.

The new analysis assesses the impact of climate change on the deadly combination of heat and humidity, measured as the “wet bulb” temperature (WBT). Once this reaches 35C, the human body cannot cool itself by sweating and even fit people sitting in the shade will die within six hours.

The revelations show the most severe impacts of global warming may strike those nations, such as India, whose carbon emissions are still rising as they lift millions of people out of poverty.

“It presents a dilemma for India between the need to grow economically at a fast pace, consuming fossil fuels, and the need to avoid such potentially lethal impacts,” said Prof Elfatih Eltahir, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US who led the new study. “To India, global climate change is no longer abstract – it is about how to save potentially vulnerable populations.”

Heatwaves are already a major risk in South Asia, with a severe episode in 2015 leading to 3,500 deaths, and India recorded its hottest ever day in 2016 when the temperature in the city of Phalodi, Rajasthan, hit 51C. Another new study this week linked the impact of climate change to the suicides of nearly 60,000 Indian farmers.

Read here more information: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/02/climate-change-to-cause-humid-heatwaves-that-will-kill-even-healthy-people

A third of the world now faces deadly heatwaves as result of climate change

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Nearly a third of the world’s population is now exposed to climatic conditions that produce deadly heatwaves, as the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere makes it “almost inevitable” that vast areas of the planet will face rising fatalities from high temperatures, new research has found.

Climate change has escalated the heatwave risk across the globe, the study states, with nearly half of the world’s population set to suffer periods of deadly heat by the end of the century even if greenhouse gases are radically cut.

“For heatwaves, our options are now between bad or terrible,” said Camilo Mora, an academic at the University of Hawaii and lead author of the study.

Mora’s research shows that the overall risk of heat-related illness or death has climbed steadily since 1980, with around 30% of the world’s population now living in climatic conditions that deliver deadly temperatures at least 20 days a year.

The proportion of people at risk worldwide will grow to 48% by 2100 even if emissions are drastically reduced, while around three-quarters of the global population will be under threat by then if greenhouse gases are not curbed at all.

“Finding so many cases of heat-related deaths was mind blowing, especially as they often don’t get much attention because they last for just a few days and then people moved on,” Mora said.

“Dying in a heatwave is like being slowly cooked, it’s pure torture. The young and elderly are at particular risk, but we found that this heat can kill soldiers, athletes, everyone.”

Follow the link to learn more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/19/a-third-of-the-world-now-faces-deadly-heatwaves-as-result-of-climate-change