A study underlines that Paris is the European city where, in the event of a heat wave, the risk of dying from heat is the highest.
- After a particularly hot summer of 2022, this month of May 2023 is experiencing temperatures above seasonal norms.
- While summer could experience heat waves, a study shows that it is in Paris that they could have the most dramatic consequences.
- The highest risk of dying of heat in Europe is in Paris due to high urban density and the scarcity of green spaces.
And if the temperatures which should reach 30° by the end of this week in Paris put us at a vital risk? This is suggested by the results of a study published in The Lancet.
The consequences of global warming are present all over the world, but experts observe a particular phenomenon in Western Europe. Indeed, temperatures are rising faster than in the rest of the world. This finding can be explained in particular by the population density and the significant presence of infrastructure in the urban environment.
In France, more and more frequent heat waves
In France, heat waves are more and more frequent and more and more intense. The temperatures for this month of May 2023 most often exceed seasonal norms. And according to a study of Lancet, Paris is the city in Europe where the risk of dying from heat is the highest in the event of a heat wave!
An analysis of the evolution of temperatures, demography and infrastructures has enabled an English team of researchers to determine the risks associated with extreme temperatures. It emerges that the nature of urbanization and the density of buildings are the main aggravating factors for Paris. The city is also sorely lacking in vegetation to cope with extreme temperatures.
If the situation is worrying in Paris, it is also worrying in many cities in Europe. Indeed, according to this same study, cities such as Seville, Valence or Marseille are also among the cities where the risk of dying from heat is high in the event of a heat wave.
London is the city with the highest risk of freezing to death
If Paris comes first for the risk of dying of heat, it is different for the risk of dying of cold. Indeed, it is in London that the risks are highest for vulnerable people. This is mainly due to energy poverty and the lack of thermal insulation of housing.
It is therefore important to take into account this worrying situation in the face of episodes of heat, but also of cold. The consequences can be dramatic for vulnerable people, especially the elderly or people with chronic pathologies.
Rethinking urbanization to deal with episodes of heat wave or cold
To cope with episodes of heat waves and cold, the researchers stress that it is essential to rethink urbanization and to favor green spaces. In France, cities are often densely built, with no real green space, which increases the risks in the event of extreme temperatures. Revegetation programs and the creation of parks and gardens make it possible to combat these risks.
Similarly, energy-efficient and well-insulated buildings are essential to cope with cold spells. In addition, it is crucial to pay particular attention to vulnerable people during these episodes, by implementing specific action plans to help them.