More heat waves coming

LONDON: The effects of climate change mean the world can expect higher temperatures and more frequent heat waves, climate experts have warned, with poor communities likely to be worst affected. Heat is neglected because it is both an invisible and hard-to-document disaster that claims lives largely behind closed doors, they said, and because hot weather does not strike many people as a serious threat. The warning comes as hot weather has swept the northern hemisphere. Britain has sweltered in a prolonged heat wave, with temperatures set to test national records, the country’s Meteorological Office said. “We will have to get used to these kinds of summers,” said Friederike Otto of Oxford University.

“There is no doubt that there is a link to climate change. We need to take heat waves seriously around the world as something that we need to adapt to,” Otto said. Fires have also caused devastation in Greece, Sweden and the United States. The past three years were the hottest on record, the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization said in March. The World Health Organization says heat stress, linked to climate change, is likely to cause 38,000 extra deaths a year worldwide between 2030 and 2050. Two weeks into Japan’s blistering heat wave, at least 80 people have died and thousands have been rushed to emergency rooms, as officials urged citizens to stay indoors to avoid temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104°F) in some areas. In a heat wave in May, more than 60 people died in Karachi, Pakistan, when the temperature rose above 40C (104F). — AFP