Global temperatures are rising at an alarming rate. Extreme heat waves will intensify. Which countries are most exposed to heat? British researchers identified them.
The research focuses not only on heat waves per se. It also evaluates factors such as socioeconomics, population growth, and others. So Beijing and Central Europe are also vulnerable. Their large populations put a relatively large number of people at risk.
Afghanistan and others
Regions such as Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and Central America are most at risk. The study was published in Nature Communications. The research team suggests doing more to be prepared for the heat ahead.
“Governments should prepare for situations beyond current records. There are trends caused by anthropogenic climate change that increase the likelihood of extreme events.”
Statistically implausible heat waves occurred in 31% of the 136 regions covered by the study. It happened during the last 60 years. This is a good reason to prepare more than usual.
Long-lasting high temperatures can not only kill people directly. They also make everyday life difficult. They can be devastating in terms of agricultural development. Their side effects include an increased risk of forest fires, analysts predict.
What makes this more complicated is that we’re not sure what’s coming. It is likely that what is coming in the future will be worse than what we have seen up to this point.
Putting preparations in place would actually reduce the number of deaths, experts bring hope. These preparations may involve cooling spaces in urban environments or reducing the working day.
“Being prepared saves lives,” says atmospheric scientist Dann Mitchell of the University of Bristol.
For the assessments they use the latest climate models and global population data. They developed a method to determine the likelihood of recurring extreme weather events.
“In our study we show that such record-breaking incidents could occur anywhere. Governments around the world must be prepared,” the authors comment. They all must. But especially the most heat-exposed countries. Where do you live?