Heat stress killed more than 61,000 people in Europe last summer, according to new research published Monday by the journal Nature Medicine.
The worst impacts were felt in Italy, Spain, and Portugal, with the highest incidence of excess deaths occurring among women older than 80, although younger men were more likely to die than younger women.
The report calculated there were 25,000 more heat-related deaths in 2022 than the average from 2015 to 2021, due to the brutal heat waves that scorched the continent last year.
Despite similar temperatures as other Mediterranean countries, France saw many fewer heat-caused deaths, likely thanks to early warning systems and public announcements advising residents on how to protect themselves, put in place following a deadly heatwave in 2003.
Without policies to protect people from heat, researchers say the number of people dying from extreme heat each summer in Europe could rise to more than 68,000 every summer by 2030, 94,000 by 2040, and 120,000 by 2050.