Andalusia experienced its strongest heat wave on record for twenty years for the start of June, according to Aemet, the Spanish State Meteorological Agency.
In some towns in this region of southern Spain, temperatures have risen to 43°C.
To cope with these increasingly frequent heat waves, the city of Seville - in partnership with the Resilience Center of the Adrienne Arsht Rockfeller Foundation - has set up proMétéo, "
a pioneering system for designating and categorizing heat waves heat
”, presented in a press release.
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Its program is based on a new algorithm "
which predicts heat waves up to five days before, and automatically categorizes them according to their impact on human health and mortality
", explains the press release.
These waves are classified into three categories by degree of severity, and names are assigned for the most dangerous events, ranging from the last to the first letter of the Spanish alphabet.
The first five names have already been released: Zoe, Yago, Xenia, Wenceslao and Vega.
Specific measures are applied
Announced a year earlier, this pilot project aims to enable local officials to implement policies specific to each episode of heat wave, such as "
the opening of swimming pools, water parks or the activation of a body of “health workers responsible for monitoring the elderly and those at risk
”, details the press release.
We are the first city in the world to plan and take action when this type of weather event occurs - especially because heat waves always hit the most vulnerable people
," said Antonio Muñoz, the mayor of Seville. .
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According to a 2019 study published in the Lancet, heat waves kill 300,000 people a year.
A result taken seriously by Kathy Baughman McLeod, director of the Center for Resilience:
“Heat waves have been called a “silent killer” for a reason: they kill more people than any other climate threat;
but the dangers they represent are underestimated and seriously misunderstood”
A wider prevention program
In parallel with the categorization of heat waves, public awareness campaigns are deployed "
to communicate the dangers of oppressive heat, the resources available and the specific actions that can be taken to protect citizens
", indicates Spanish radio Onda Cero.
This program - supported by eighteen months of analysis and scientific research - aims above all to "
raise public awareness of the deadly impact of climate change and to save lives
", assures the director of the Center for Resilience.
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This center is not only established in Spain, but wishes to export its project to several cities around the world.
Melbourne (Australia), Athens (Greece) and Los Angeles (USA) have notably begun to pilot similar categorization conventions.