21 Mai 2019

Heat Waves

With spring in Europe slowly awakening and summer around the corner, many wonder if this year’s summer will be as hot as last ones. Those who experienced long lasting heat waves know that they affect everyday life – the building indoor and outdoor environmental temperature increases day after day, decreasing the thermal comfort of the people living in the area.

While Climate Change is often talked about in terms of a global average temperature, it is often overlooked that Climate Change will also most likely intensify extreme heat waves. Heat waves have a profound impact not only on us humans, but also on most other species on this planet. “Summertime is quickly becoming a deadly season for life on Earth.”, San Francisco State University Professor of Biology Jonathon Stillman states in a paper. While reviewing information gathered from over 140 scientific studies, it became clear that more intensifying heat waves means both humans and animals will face conflicts when trying to cope with the heat.

Climate Change and interrelated heat waves can, for example, influence the occurrence of wildfires, worsen heat-related maladies, reduce crop yields and the nutritional value of crops, and influence air pollution. With a projected increase in frequency, length, and intensity, the effects of compound heat waves will continue to worsen. As the interconnections between the different effects of heat waves are sometimes difficult to understand, we will concentrate on specific examples in the upcoming weeks.