Mattei lost his ministerial post in a cabinet reshuffle on 31 March 2004. Gobierno de España", "Agencia Estatal de Meteorología – AEMET. Everyone remembers the 15,000 additional deaths in France caused by the heat wave in August 2003, but no‐one knows the total number of victims at European scale although more than 70 scientific papers and reports related to this event have been already published (Cheung et al, 2007). Due to a number of deaths, the UK government released its Heat Health Watch system, issuing warnings if temperatures rise above 30 °C in the day and 15 °C at night. Europe recalls lethal 2003 heat wave Continent looks at the causes, solutions of weather-related tragedy. The elderly were particularly susceptible to the heat, as were those who were chronically ill or isolated from sources of aid. The 2003 heatwave led to the deaths of an estimated 70,000 people across Europe, and 15,000 in France alone. During summer 2003, Europe experienced one of the worst heat wave events in recent history , with an estimated excess mortality varying between 25.000 and 70.000 deaths in Western Europe [9, 10]. European heat wave of 2003, record high temperatures across Europe in 2003 that resulted in at least 30,000 deaths (more than 14,000 in France alone). By Camille Feanny and Kiesha Porter CNN This image shows the differences in day time land surface temperatures collected in the two years by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. Britain is also set to swelter in temperatures above … It is feared the heatwave could be as bad as a Europe-wide blast in 2003 that claimed as many as 20,000 lives. As a consequence, houses (usually of stone, concrete, or brick construction) do not warm too much during the daytime and radiate minimal heat at night, and air conditioning is usually unnecessary. [citation needed], That shortcomings of the nation's health system could allow such a death toll is a controversy in France. Europe’s 2003 heatwave resulted in the premature deaths of an estimated 70,000 people. PARIS (AP) _ France's leading undertaker estimated the country's death toll from the summer heat wave at 15,000 on Tuesday, far exceeding the official tally and putting further pressure on the government to improve its health care system. Record temperatures are being recorded as warnings pile up. The 2003 heat wave appeared at first to be an outlier. Comparisons were drawn to a heatwave in August 2003 which contributed to almost 15,000 deaths in the country. The heat wave baked many parts of Europe, devastating livestock and fanning forest fires, but no other country has announced a death toll even close to the one recorded by France. Compared to July 2001, temperatures in July 2003 were sizzling. Peer-reviewed analysis places the European death toll at more than 70,000. The event marks the 2003 European heat wave as the hottest summer in the northern hemisphere. As a massive heat wave bears down on Europe in coming days, France is hoping to avoid the devastating death toll it suffered in 2003, during the hottest spell in centuries. The deaths prompted the nation's weather service … While the elderly and people living alone are particularly vulnerable to heat waves, no segment of the population may be considered protected from the risks associated with heat waves. 32. [12][13] Five percent of Portugal's countryside and 10% of the forests (215,000 hectares[5] or an estimated 2,150 km2 (830 sq mi)), were destroyed, and 18 people died in the flames. Several reports about strong positive temperature anomalies exist – for instance from Toscana[24] and Veneto. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The intensity of the heat, as well as its duration, wrought havoc on the unprepared European population. in mid-August for areas that are normally harvested in September). This report reviews the current knowledge about the effects of heat-waves, including the physiological aspects of heat illness and epidemiological studies on excess mortality, and makes recommendations for preventive action. In 2003, a heat wave lasting two weeks killed an estimated 15,000 people in France—and 70,000 throughout Europe. Family doctors were still in the habit of vacationing at the same time. An estimated 15,000 heat-related deaths were reported in France following the 2003 summer heat wave. Initially, 141 deaths were attributed to the heat wave in Spain. France Heat Wave Death Toll at 15,000 JOSEPH COLEMAN September 9, 2003 GMT PARIS (AP) _ France’s leading undertaker estimated the country’s death toll from the summer heat wave at 15,000 on Tuesday, far exceeding the official tally and putting further pressure on the government to improve its health care system. Many companies traditionally closed in August, so people had no choice about when to vacation. [23] Europe failed to act after the 2003 French heatwave. The heat wave and smog period of 2003 were of longer duration than in the past. On 8 August, a temperature of 37.7 °C (99.9 °F) was recorded, and 12 August had a temperature of 37.2 °C (99.0 °F).[16]. The total number of heat-related deaths that occurred during the summer 2003 heat wave is unknown. A higher temperature had only been recorded twice before. By mid-August, the grapes in certain vineyards had already reached their optimal sugar content, possibly resulting in 12.0°–12.5° wines (see alcoholic degree). The catastrophe occurred in August, a month in which many people, including government ministers and physicians, are on holiday. The disaster was one of the deadliest in Europe in a century. [8], The high number of deaths can be explained by the conjunction of seemingly unrelated events. In Portugal, an estimated 1,866 to 2,039 people died of heat-related causes. In raw numbers, climate change caused 64 of the 315 deaths that London experienced during the heat wave. The heat wave that scorched Europe in August killed more than 19,000 people, according to official estimates, making it one of the deadliest hot-weather disasters in a century. The AIS is important for the reproduction biology of important pelagic commercial fish species, so the heatwave may have influenced indirectly the stocks of these species. On 3 September 2003, 57 bodies were still left unclaimed in the Paris area, and were buried. Only the deep southern Sweden saw any type of heatwave effect in the country, with the average high of Lund for August being 23.9 °C (75.0 °F), which is a very warm temperature average for August. Although research established that heat waves represent a major threat for public health, France had no policy in place. 268 R. Garc´ıa-Herrera et al. During summer 2003, the early onset of hot weather, unusually high temperatures, and prolonged heat-stress conditions caused extreme peaks in mortality throughout Europe. An estimated 15,000 heat-related deaths were reported in France following the 2003 summer heat wave. The 2003 European heat wave led to the hottest summer on record in Europe since at least 1540. The wines from 2003, although in scarce quantity, are predicted to have exceptional quality, especially in France. The records from 1997 and 2002 held up all throughout the country, and the warmest temperature was 30.8 °C (87.4 °F) in Stockholm on 1 August, which was higher than the warmest Irish temperature. Omissions? In the first quantitative climate change attribution assessment, researchers found that human influence at least doubled the risk of a heatwave exceeding the threshold passed during the extreme European heat wave of 2003. France: More than 10,000 dead in record heat wave By Francis Dubois 22 August 2003 The unprecedented heat wave in Europe has caused many deaths across … Simultaneously, air pollution levels, particularly ozone, were dramatically elevated all over the country. France does not commonly have very hot summers, particularly in the northern areas, but eight consecutive days with temperatures of more than 40 °C (104 °F) were recorded in Auxerre, Yonne in early August 2003. However, Atlantic cyclones brought cool and wet weather for a short while at the end of July and beginning of August before the temperatures started to increase substantially from 3 August onwards. In Findel, Luxembourg, the temperature reached 37.9 °C (100.2 °F) between 8 and 12 August, making it the country's highest temperature since records began in 1947. 2003 heat wave were elderly brings another dimension. The relationship of mortality with temperature and ozone or PM10 from “normal” summers may not fully apply. The number of people dying in the heat in 2020 was comparable to the 2,234 excess deaths seen during the 2003 Europe-wide heatwave and the 2,323 who died in the heatwave in 2006, PHE said. For the same period in 2000 (in which no noticeable heat wave episodes have occurred) it is estimated that around 1000 people died due to the ambient ozone levels and 1300 due to PM10. In the summer of 2003 an anticyclone stationed above western Europe prevented precipitation and led to record high temperatures over sustained periods. A particularly vocal critic was Dr. Patrick Pelloux, head of the union of emergency physicians, who blamed the Raffarin administration for ignoring warnings from health and emergency professionals and trying to minimize the crisis. [3], The predominant heat was recorded in July and August, partly a result of the western European seasonal lag from the maritime influence of the Atlantic warm waters in combination with hot continental air and strong southerly winds. Elderly persons living by themselves had never faced such extreme heat before and did not know how to react or were too mentally or physically impaired by the heat to make the necessary adaptations themselves. The 2003 Heat Wave in France: Dangerous Climate Change Here and Now Marc Poumadere,` 1,2∗ Claire Mays,1 Sophie Le Mer,2 and Russell Blong3 In an analysis of the French episode of heat wave in 2003, this article highlights how heat wave dangers result from the intricate association of natural and social factors. France has adopted strict heat wave guidelines since the summer of 2003, when between 15,000 and 19,000 people died as a result of extreme temperatures – many of … A refrigerated warehouse outside Paris was used by undertakers as they did not have enough space in their own facilities. A major increase in mortality was then observed, which main epidemiological features are described herein. In France, 14,802 heat-related deaths (mostly among the elderly) occurred during the heat wave, according to the French National Institute of Health. No more. Alpine glaciers shrank by 10 percent over the summer, and thawing in the mountains reached greater depths and occurred at higher altitudes than on average, contributing to rock slides. Last year's hot summer in Germany has been estimated to have caused at least 1,000 excess deaths." What was learned from the extreme heat wave in Europe that occurred in summer 2003 causing 14 800 deaths in France and many more elsewhere? [37] The warmest summer temperature was set on 17 July in the northern city of Piteå with 32.8 °C (91.0 °F), which although it is very hot for such a northerly coastal location, was largely unrelated to the latter central European intense heat wave. The heat wave broke no records,[citation needed] although four tropical weather-designated days in mid-July, preceding the official wave, are not counted due to a cool day in between and the nature of the Netherlands specification/definition of a heat wave. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. An 18-day heat wave in July 2006 rivaled 2003’s in its intensity, killing some 2,000 people in France. The administration of President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin laid the blame on families who had left their elderly behind without caring for them, the 35-hour workweek, which affected the amount of time doctors could work, and family practitioners vacationing in August. The comparison of the impact of the 2003 heat wave between countries is hampered by the substantial differences in the methodologies employed to define heat wave events and to estimate … [23] The high humidity intensified the perception of heat and population suffering. When compared with the 1961–1990 averages the 2003 August month was still a couple of degrees warmer than a normal August in the southern third of the country. The weather station of Catenanuova, in Sicily, had a monthly mean of 31.5 °C (88.7 °F) in July 2003, with an absolute maximum of 46.0 °C (114.8 °F) on 17 July, with monthly mean maximum temperatures of 36.0 °C (96.8 °F), 38.9 °C (102.0 °F) and 38.0 °C (100.4 °F) in June, July, and August 2003, respectively. This means an excess of around 400–600 deaths in 2003, compared to the average summer of 2000. [citation needed], Not everyone blamed the government. This was the first occasion on which temperatures exceeding 100 °F (38 °C) have ever been officially recorded in the UK. Elderly people were most affected. The heat was particularly severe in France, where the temperature remained around 99 °F (37 °C) for more than a week in August in some areas. The heat affected harvests as well: fodder and grain production declined, elevating costs for livestock farmers. [29] According to the BBC, over 2,000 people more than usual may have died in the United Kingdom during the 2003 heatwave. [26], In Germany, shipping could not navigate the Elbe or Danube, as a result of low water levels. Around 300 people—mostly elderly—died during the 2003 heatwave in Germany. Methods: The number of deaths observed from August to November 2003 in France was compared to those expected on the basis of … "The French family structure is more dislocated than elsewhere in Europe, and prevailing social attitudes hold that once older people are closed behind their apartment doors or in nursing homes, they are someone else's problem," said Stéphane Mantion, an official with the French Red Cross. Risk Analysis, 25: 1483–1494. In France, 14,802 heat-related deaths (mostly among the elderly) occurred during the heat wave, according to the French National Institute of Health. Many bodies were not claimed for many weeks because relatives were on holiday. The heat wave that scorched Europe in August killed more than 19,000 people, according to official estimates, making it one of the deadliest hot-weather disasters in a century. [17] A further research of INE estimated a 12,963 excess of deaths during summer of 2003. In Amareleja, one of the hottest cities in Europe, temperatures reached as high as 48 °C (118 °F). These divergent figures indicate that a global assessment of excess mortality is difficult, if not impossible, because no standardized estimates across European countries have been made for the 2003 heat wave . The comparison of the impact of the 2003 heat wave between countries is hampered by the substantial differences in the methodologies employed to define heat wave events and to estimate … Why Europe's heatwave is so unusual In pictures: Europe's June 2019 heatwave Last year's hot summer in Germany has been estimated to have caused at least 1,000 excess deaths." The heat wave raised concerns over global warming and, in particular, Europe’s readiness for climate change. The heatwave made Hungary fare extremely well in the Vinalies 2003 International wine contest: a total of nine gold and nine silver medals were awarded to Hungarian winemakers. According the UK Met Office, temperatures in southwest Wimbledon reached 96.3°F, the highest temperature ever recorded during the Wimbledon tennis tournament. All in all, more than 52,000 Europeans died from heat in the summer of 2003, making the heat wave one of the deadliest climate-related disasters in Western history. The deaths prompted the nation's weather service to institute a … Remarkably, Scandinavia saw a cooler August in 2003 than the previous year when comparative temperatures were very high for the latitude, as the hot air parked over continental Europe. [30], The tarmac melted on part of the M25 between Junctions 26 and 27,[31] and rails buckled from expansion on the hottest day in England in 13 years, while 2 teenaged boys drowned while trying to escape the excessive heat. This is some 8% of the total deaths in this 3 months period. Compared to July 2001, temperatures in July 2003 were sizzling. These shortfalls in wheat harvest occurred as a result of the long drought. This image shows the differences in day time land surface temperatures collected in the two years by the In Portugal, the temperatures reached as high as 47 °C (117 °F) in the south. The heat wave also affected the environment. In addition, high water temperatures and low water levels shut down French nuclear power facilities just when demand for electricity peaked. Crops in Southern Europe suffered the most from drought. With the perspective of three years after the event, an emphasis is placed on the readiness of society in the case of a similar climatic event. At dawn that same day, a freak storm developed in the southern region of the country. The heat wave led to health crises in several countries and combined with drought to create a crop shortfall in parts of Southern Europe. Although a comparatively low exposure to the heatwave this is to be expected given the greater continental influence. A new nationwide record temperature of 41.5 °C (106.7 °F) was recorded in Grono, Graubünden.[27]. 546 deaths. The highest temperature recorded was 30.3 °C (86.5 °F) at Belderrig, County Mayo on 8 August.[33][34][35]. [7] Because of the usually relatively mild summers, most people did not know how to react to very high temperatures (for instance, with respect to rehydration), and most single-family homes and residential facilities built in the last 50 years were not equipped with air conditioning. Ruben Hallali. [2] France was hit especially hard. [17] Temperature records were broken in various cities, with the heat wave being more felt in typically cooler northern Spain. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/event/European-heat-wave-of-2003, NASA - Earth Observatory - European Heat Wave. It was estimated that about 15 000 excess deaths occurred during the August 1–20 heat wave in France. Until the 2003 event, heat waves were a strongly underestimated risk in the French context, which partly explains the high number of victims.[10]. Because of the usually relatively mild summers, most people did not know how to react to very high temperatures (for instance, with respect to rehydrati… The European heat wave of 2003 affected much of western Europe, breaking temperature records. Europe was experiencing a historic heat wave that had been responsible for at least 3,000 deaths in France alone in the summer of 2003. Corrections? [39], Difference in average temperature (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2012) from 2003, covering the date range of 20 July – 20 August. All in all, more than 52,000 Europeans died from heat in the summer of 2003, making the heat wave one of the deadliest climate-related disasters in Western history. Comparisons were drawn to a heatwave in August 2003 which contributed to almost 15,000 deaths in the country. The heatwave greatly accelerated the ripening of grapes; also, the heat dehydrated the grapes, making for more concentrated juice. Below are stats for the month of August 2003 in France. [citation needed]. France reported 14 802 casualties using a method In Paris, where it was much warmer, 506 out of 735 deaths were attributable to global warming. Hot temperatures that occurred during the summer 2003 in Europe were associated to an excess of thousands deaths. During the heat wave, which began in June and continued through mid-August, temperatures soared to 20–30 percent above average. More than 70,000 people died during a record-breaking heat wave that left Europe sweltering in June, July and August 2003. Europe heat wave The severe heat wave began in Europe in June 2003 and continued through July until mid-August, raising summer temperatures 20 to 30% higher than the seasonal average in Celsius degrees over a large portion of the continent, extend-ing from northern Spain to the Czech Republic and from Germany to Italy (see map below). [15] The highest temperature recorded this heatwave was on 7 August, when in Arcen, in Limburg, a temperature of 37.8 °C (100.0 °F) was reached, 0.8 °C below the national record (since 1904). Many blamed Health Minister Jean-François Mattei for failing to return from his vacation when the heat wave became serious, and his aides for blocking emergency measures in public hospitals (such as the recalling of physicians). This led to statistically improbable survival rates with the weakest group having fewer deaths than more physically fit persons; most of the heat victims came from the group of elderly persons not requiring constant medical care, and/or those living alone, without frequent contact with immediate family. During the 2003 heat wave in Europe, three days after the start and until four days after the conclusion of the heat wave, 70.000 excess deaths across the entire continent were counted 43, 44 . Gobierno de España", http://www.clima.ibimet.cnr.it/attachments/Sommario%20Clima%202003-Toscana.pdf, "(Analisi meteo-climatica inverno 2002/2003)", https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/100-f-britains-hottest-day-99871.html, "Great weather events: Temperatures records fall in summer 2003", "Met Éireann – Monthly Weather Bulletin (June 2003)", "Met Éireann – Monthly Weather Bulletin (July 2003)", "Met Éireann – Monthly Weather Bulletin (August 2003)", "Temperature & Cloud statistics for Sweden – August 2003", "Temperature & Cloud statistics for Sweden – July 2003", "Effects of 2003 heatwave on the Sea Surface in Central Mediterranean", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=2003_European_heat_wave&oldid=992212374, Articles with dead external links from August 2018, Articles with permanently dead external links, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from September 2017, Articles with failed verification from September 2017, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2016, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2007, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2010, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 4 December 2020, at 02:32. https://web.archive.org/web/20051013071340/http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/~swrmethn/summer2003/heatwave2003_reading_incfigs.pdf, WMO: Unprecedented sequence of extreme weather events – News – Professional Resources – PreventionWeb.net, http://www.earth-policy.org/Updates/2006/Update56.htm, http://www.earth-policy.org/Updates/2006/Update56_data.htm, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/fr.html, "Historical stats for Auxerre August 2003", "Forte chaleur au Luxembourg - Record de la température maximale pour le mois de juillet", "KNMI – Daggegevens van het weer in Nederland", "La ola de calor de 2003 coincidió con un incremento de 13.000 muertes", "Valores extremos – Agencia Estatal de Meteorología – AEMET. European Union. The 2003 European heatwave caused 35,000 deaths. Most nights in France are cool, even in summer. As a result of summer 2003, an alert system was introduced in France which aims to warn people about expected highs and avoid more deaths. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The summer of 2003 was among the warmest in the last three centuries,[23] and the maximum temperatures of July and August remained above 30 °C (86 °F). We cannot ignore this one This article is more than 1 year old. A total higher than 38,000 excess deaths during August 2003 has been declared in seven European countries . Highest death toll from natural hazards in 50 years With a death toll estimated to exceed 30 000, the heat wave of 2003 is one of the ten deadliest natural disasters in Europe for the last 100 years and the worst in the last 50 years. Elderly persons with family support or those residing in nursing homes were more likely to have others who could make the adjustments for them. It surpassed even 2003's scorcher in western and central Europe — which has been blamed for 70,000 deaths. "[9], Moreover, the French episode of heat wave in 2003 shows how heat wave dangers result from the intricate association of natural and social factors. Forest fires raged across western Europe as weakened trees and dry underbrush fed the flames. "The 2003 European heat wave has caused about 70,000 fatalities. With a massive heat wave headed toward Europe in the coming days, major cities such as Paris are herding their citizens toward pools and air conditioning to prevent heat-related deaths. An analysis from Athens suggests that high temperature and air pollution concentrations may also interact to produce a greater effect than each factor acting alone ( Katsouyanni et al., 1993 ). [38], The anomalous overheating affecting the atmosphere also created anomalies on sea surface stratification in the Mediterranean Sea and on the surface currents, as well. The United Kingdom experienced one of its hottest summers on record with temperatures well above average. The heat wave raised concerns over global warming and, in particular, Europe’s readiness for climate change. [5], Melting glaciers in the Alps caused avalanches and flash floods in Switzerland. It is not clear that more physicians would have helped, as the main limitation was not the health system, but locating old people needing assistance. "The 2003 European heat wave has caused about 70,000 fatalities. French society has been confronted in a brutal way with the social implications of an ageing population and the tragedy of the heat wave has brought home to many people the important question of quality of life in old age. Poumadère, M., Mays, C., Le Mer, S. and Blong, R. (2005), The 2003 Heat Wave in France: Dangerous Climate Change Here and Now. By comparison, this June heat wave lasted just four days. Temperature records were broken in a number of countries in 2003 as Europe experienced its hottest weather in at least 500 years. [11][failed verification] 1 August 2003 was the hottest day in centuries, with night temperatures well above 30 °C (86 °F). In July 2015, extreme heat in the country killed 3,300. The United Kingdom saw its hottest July maximum temperature on record on the first day of the month (July 1) as temperatures rose to 98°F (36.7°C) at Heathrow airport in London. Furthermore, while contingency plans were made for a variety of natural and man-made catastrophes, high temperatures had rarely been considered a major hazard. During summer 2003, the early onset of hot weather, unusually high temperatures, and prolonged heat-stress conditions caused extreme peaks in mortality throughout Europe. The highest temperatures are likely to occur across western and central mainland Europe. As a result, temperatures there peak in July if it is a warm summer. [28] Scotland also broke its highest temperature record with 32.9 °C (91.2 °F) recorded in Greycrook in the Scottish borders on 9 August. Even nightly temperatures were higher than the average summer midday highs. August was by far the warmest, sunniest, and driest month, with temperatures roughly 2 °C above average. In northern Sweden, August temperatures are rarely warm due to the decreased exposure of the low but everlasting sun during the summer solstice. More than 20,000 people died after a record-breaking heatwave left Europe sweltering in August 2003. French reports suggested five deaths may have resulted from the high temperatures. France recorded 11,435 extra deaths during a heat wave in the first two weeks of August when temperatures soared over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), according to officials. Europe failed to act after the 2003 French heatwave. A seasonal current of the central Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ionian Stream (AIS), was affected by the warm temperatures, resulting in modifications in its path and intensity. Britannica Kids Holiday Bundle! [4][5] France does not commonly have very hot summers, particularly in the northern areas,[6] but eight consecutive days with temperatures of more than 40 °C (104 °F) were recorded in Auxerre, Yonne in early August 2003. At least 35,000 people died as a result of the record heatwave that scorched Europe in August 2003, says an environmental think tank. An 18-day heat wave in July 2006 rivaled 2003’s in its intensity, killing some 2,000 people in France. 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