Women suffer more from heatwaves due to socio-economic factors, Source: Depositphotos

European heatwave forecast map shows mortality risk

European heatwave forecast map shows mortality risk

It was created by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) with the aim to reduce this type of fatalities – that’s the name of a new digital interactive map, created with the aim of predicting not just the extremes of weather as they affect European regions but the public health risks these events bring in their wake for the people. More specifically, it shows the risk of mortality caused by heatwaves and cold spells, divided into several colour-coded categories.

This easy-to-use and consult digital tool was created by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) with funding from the European Union, with the goal of providing European residents and tourists with a quick glance on whether they should take some extra precautions and/or avoid visiting a region in case they are travelling.

It will also work for cold snaps

Extreme atmospheric temperature conditions are a major threat not only to the comfort but also the well-being and even lives of certain groups of people. Heatwaves, for instance, significantly elevate the risk of dehydration and sunstroke and are not well-tolerated by elderly people and those with chronic or serious health conditions.

Heatwaves are increasing in frequency and severity due to climate change, with around 70,000 heat-related deaths in Europe in 2022.

The nice thing about this map is that it can even be somewhat personalized because it provides health and mortality risk forecasts for different age groups, and health conditions, as well as for different genders. That way, you can choose the category you fit in in order to assess your risk better.

“We know, for example, that women are more susceptible to heat than men, and that the risk of death for both heat and cold increases with age,” said Marcos Quijal-Zamorano, a researcher from ISGlobal, to Euronews.

Apparently, climate extremes impact different groups differently also due to socio-economic factors, such as having a lower income means less opportunity to protect yourself against weather extremes. Women generally earn less than men so they might not be able to afford an air conditioner, for example.

The different mortality risk categories have also been colour-coded to indicate their severity – from low to extreme. Users can check the forecasts for up to two weeks ahead.

As the next step, ISGlobal plans to expand into a complete platform addressing multiple threats, including air pollution and specific health outcomes like cardiovascular diseases.



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