If you’re planning to visit Europe in July-August 2023, it is imperative that you know about the ongoing Cerberus Heatwave.
Cerberus Heatwave is a natural phenomenon characterised by an extreme and prolonged period of abnormally high temperatures. The name comes from the three-headed hound of Greek mythology, Cerberus, who was the guardian of the underworld. The name is apt because like the hound, the heatwave is extremely fierce and relentless in nature. In the past, various regions across the world have witnessed this phenomenon.
Climate change is the primary cause of heatwaves across the world. This, in turn, is a consequence of various human activities such as greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. Natural climatic patterns like El Niño events and changes in ocean currents, may also affect the intensity and duration of heatwaves.
The heatwave in Europe is the latest occurrence of the destructive phenomena of Cerberus Heatwave. The Cerberus Heatwave has engulfed several countries across Europe, with temperatures soaring well above average. On 13 July, the European Space Agency issued a warning for an extreme heatwave in Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Poland. The heatwave also coincides with a time where a record-breaking number of tourists are expected to arrive in Europe, according to CNN.
Authorities in Italy have already issued alerts for extreme health risks in 16 cities. Temperatures are expected to reach 48 degrees Celsius in Sicily and Sardinia. In early July, a construction worker died after collapsing on a roadside in Milan. Greek authorities closed the Acropolis of Athens on two Saturdays in a row due to high temperatures. The closure of other tourist attractions in affected countries is also likely, especially during the peak temperature hours of the day. The soaring temperatures have also led to numerous wildfires in Greece, Spain and even Switzerland. Power outages were also reported in parts of Rome, due to heavier demand from air conditioners.
Drought is also another factor that has hit the majority of European countries. The European Drought Observatory has placed 42 per cent of the land in the European Union (EU) under an amber warning. Four percent of EU land is under a red alert. Due to low rainfall and high temperatures, the ground has completely dried up. Drought conditions also lead to an added risk of wildfires and agricultural damage.
A Cerberus Heatwave generally has devastating consequences, the most immediate impact being the threat to the health of people. It may lead to heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and other heat-related illnesses, particularly among vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, and those with pre-existing health conditions. The effect on the food security and agriculture industries is also very damaging. Drought conditions may lead to crop failures, eventually leading to problems of food availability and production.
Mitigating and adapting to the heatwave is likely the most pressing issue is authorities of the countries affected. It will also be a point of concern for unaffected countries, a sort of warning sign. There are various long-term strategies that may help mitigate the crisis, including reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable water management and ecosystem conservation techniques among various others.
The Cerberus Heatwave is a formidable challenge for the world as a whole as we grapple with climate change. European countries are collaborating and sharing best practices to address the challenges posed by the Cerberus Heatwave. International organizations, such as the European Union and the World Health Organization, are providing guidance, support, and resources to affected countries to enhance their response capabilities.
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