New map identifies heatwave risks in Europe

Credit: Edgardo W. Olivera, Flickr

A launched map now predicts heatwave mortality risks across Europe, highlighting how different demographics are affected by extreme heat based on age and sex.

This tool, created by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), aims to reduce heat-related fatalities.

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

The new map, available at Forecaster.health, shifts focus from general weather forecasts to personalised health risk predictions.

Demographic Vulnerability

The map reveals that heat affects population groups differently. For instance, on June 26, western Greece faces the highest heat risk. The tool shows that women and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.

Marcos Quijal-Zamorano, a researcher from ISGlobal notes that women face higher risks due to socioeconomic factors, since women’s salaries are usually lower than men’s, limiting their access to protective measures like air conditioning.

“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 to Euronews.

Predictive and Preventive Tool

Forecaster.health utilises data from the EU-funded project EARLY-ADAPT, covering 580 regions in 31 countries.

Users can view mortality risk levels (low, moderate, high, and extreme) based on temperature forecasts for up to two weeks. These predictions aid public health officials and individuals in taking timely preventive actions.

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

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Written by

Talyta Franca

Talyta Franca, Class 2026, Northwestern University in Qatar.

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