5 ways to fight increasingly unbearable heat waves

June 2019, the hottest June ever recorded on Earth

From Europe to Japan, the past month has seen record temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere.

Mercury in Japan and Spain topped 40C in June, marking the worst heat wave since records began in 1875, and residents have been urged not to waste energy.

Climate change is the most likely cause, according to new research by a team of climatologists working with World Weather Attribution (WWA).

Virtually all heat waves around the world have become more intense due to climate change.

Ben Clarke, study co-author and environmental scientist at the University of Oxford.

The team found that climate change was making heat waves more frequent and hotter, with maximum temperatures 1°C higher. It also made a deadly April heat wave 30 times more likely in India and Pakistan, according to the WWA.

What can we do to combat these heat waves?

Here are some of the solutions that could help us:

  1. greener cities. Urban greening can benefit cities in areas with high rainfall, including those around the equator and in northern Europe, because the water vapor released by plants during photosynthesis has a cooling effect. Freetown, in Sierra Leone, intends to plant a million trees to cool the city, through its plan “Freetown, the city of trees”. The Heat Action Platform (HAP) is an online resource that provides cities around the world with a roadmap and tools to deal with extreme heat.
  2. Back to traditional architecture. In the Persian Gulf, a study found that traditional architecture, including narrow lanes that maximize shade, courtyards, and absorbent and reflective building materials such as limestone, can help cool urban areas. Cape Town and Buenos Aires are installing light-colored roofs and other types of cooling on social housing.
  3. Naming heat waves. The Greek capital, Athens, has appointed a heat adviser, now also the world’s top heat manager, who is testing the categorization of heat waves by threat level, similar to hurricane warnings. An algorithm uses weather forecasts and past death rates to give residents an indication of how dangerous the heat is. In Seville, the mayor and Arsht-Rock are working on a three-tier categorization scale and will name heat waves in reverse alphabetical order. The top five will be called Zoe, Yago, Xenia, Wenceslao and Vega. The new system was put into service at the end of July 2022, and Zoe became the world’s first named heatwave.
  4. passive cooling. A US study found that strategies such as shading and natural ventilation could reduce pressure on air conditioning by up to 80%. Simulations using weather data from 2021 showed that these techniques kept apartment temperatures out of the “danger zone” even without air conditioning. It is thought the findings could be used to establish building codes around operable windows and operable shutters to protect tenants.
  5. Cold places. Around the world, cities are experimenting with cooling techniques, such as the network of “cool straßen” (cool streets) in Vienna, Austria, where aerosols of mist release thin clouds of vapor that lower temperatures. An app warns of extreme heat events across Europe and offers a handy list of places to go to cool off. Wind tunnels are being built in Tokyo to increase airflow in hot areas, while in Tel Aviv, light-colored fabric umbrellas with solar panels that power lights at night are being built. ‘facility.

Leave a Comment