Oct 19, 2021 - Science

Seville to become first city to name and categorize heat waves

A sign in Seville showing 47 degrees C.
An advertising board in Seville shows a temperature 47°C, which is equilivalent to 116.6°F. Photo: CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP

Mayor Juan Espadas announced on Monday that Seville, Spain would become the first city to name and categorize heat waves.

Why it matters: As heat waves become increasingly common due to climate change, naming and categorizing them has the potential to help raise awareness around the devastation they cause and help governments better prepare for them.

The big picture: Per Axios' Andrew Freedman, heat waves are becoming more severe, longer-lasting and frequent due to human-caused climate change, studies show.

  • Seville is located in the Andalusia region, one of the hottest regions in Spain where temperatures easily go above 104°F, according to the Atlantic Council.
  • In August, a city in the Andalusia region had a record high of 117°F.

Details: Seville will be partnering with the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center and other Spanish science partners to develop the naming and categorization system.

  • The heat waves will be categorized by impact on human health, which the Atlantic Council argues will "permit local officials to implement specific policies," when heatwaves come.

What they're saying: "Seville is proud to become the first city in the world to develop and implement a heat wave naming and categorization system that aims at saving thousands of lives and we encourage other cities in the world to also undertake this great endeavor," Mayor Juan Espadas said in a press conference on Monday.

What's next: The naming and categorizing of heat waves will begin in 2022.

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