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Heatwaves in summer 2022 killed 61,000 people in Europe, new study finds
10 July 2023, 17:58 | Updated: 10 July 2023, 18:40
A series of heatwaves last summer resulted in over 60,000 deaths across Europe, new research has said.
The continent was battered with record temperatures across the warmer months, with Britain experiencing its first 40C day on record as part of the extreme weather.
Public health officials using methodology commonly used in epidemiology, the study of disease, have determined that 61,672 people died of heat-related causes in Europe between 30 May and 4 September 2022.
Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal saw the highest mortality rates in heat that was ascribed in part to the effects of man-made climate change.
The methodology excludes those who would have died anyway - and is designed to count only those who died because of the high temperatures.
“There are people that would have died anyway, but those are not counted with this methodology,” said lead author Joan Ballester, Associate Research Professor in Climate and Health at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health.
“We are talking about people for whom the occurrence of these temperatures triggered their death," Ballester added.
The study suggested that the gaps between previous temperatures, which were more pronounced than in the northern European countries, were the reason these countries suffered more heavily.
Just like 2022, the 40 degree heatwave has been predicted for the upcoming hot weather stint in July, however, it is difficult to guarantee at this stage if temperatures will indeed go that high.
Jonathan Vautrey, a Met Office meteorologist, told The Mirror: "Towards the middle to the end of July there is an increasing chance that high pressure may become established.
"We can say there is a greater than normal chance of heatwaves for the whole period of the middle to the end of July."
Speaking about reaching 40C in particular, he warned that extreme temperatures are "continuously being pushed".
He added:"We got 40C last year and before that happened no one thought there was an outside chance. There's also a possibility we do continue to see those trends."
Elsewhere British Weather Services' senior meteorological consultant Jim Dale has claimed temperatures up to 40C could arrive in August.