Home Experts ask focus on action, not on differences in heat-related death counts
Website experience degraded
We are currently facing a technical issue with the website which affects the display of data. The full functionality will be restored as soon as possible. We appreciate your understanding. If you have any questions or issues, please contact EEA Helpdesk (helpdesk@eea.europa.eu).

Experts ask focus on action, not on differences in heat-related death counts

Experts have shared their opinion about why heat mortality figures can differ for one location. Without one perfect and absolute way to measure heat-related deaths, counts depend on the approach used and the availability high-quality data. Yet, all numbers point to high levels of excess heat-related mortality. The main challenge is not to improve the precision of heat-death calculations, but to identify and implement solutions to reduce mortality and other heat impacts.

Recently published research by Ballester et al. estimate that heat caused over 61,000 deaths across Europe in the summer of 2022. Calculated figures for individual countries in the study differ from national counts or estimates used in the Observatory’s heat-related mortality indicator. Experts explained to the Global Heat Health Information Network that several different valid scientific explorations of heat impact exist, which provide important risk insights for planners and policymakers. Notwithstanding the differences, there is a general consent that heat-related death counts underestimate the true impact, and that heat is a significant and largely unmanaged risk with a heavy toll on society. Hence, the focus on the difference in estimates should not distract from the fact that all the numbers are unacceptably high, particularly given that effective actions exist to prevent heat-related deaths. Instead, all findings call for increasing the ambition and effectiveness of heat prevention and adaptation plans, together with appropriate allocation of resources needed to prepare for and address the impacts of heat.

More insights from the experts can be consulted on the website of the Global Heat Health Information Network.

Date: 01 Aug 2023