As reported by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), the scorching summer Spain experienced in 2022 resulted in more than 350 deaths due to heat stroke and dehydration, contributing to a 20.5% increase in mortality. During the months of May to August 2022, 157,580 deaths were recorded, representing an increase of 26,849 compared to the same period in 2019, the year prior to the pandemic and used as a normal reference.
The leading causes of death directly related to heat were heat stroke (122 cases, up from 47 in 2019) and dehydration (233 cases, up from 109 in 2019). In addition, many of the more than 26,000 additional deaths occurred in people with chronic pathologies considered at risk in high-temperature situations, such as hypertensive diseases (36.9% increase), diabetes (31.2% increase), and senile and presenile disorders (19.8% increase).
The year 2022 stood out as the hottest year in more than 100 years, according to the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet), with multiple records for hot days and successive heat waves. The INE report was published during the first heat wave of the current summer, which maintained temperatures above 40 oC in southern Spain, where the death of a 47-year-old man was recorded due to heat stroke.
Aemet forecast that temperatures would be slightly lower on Tuesday, although they would still exceed 40 oC, and the heat wave is expected to decrease on Thursday. The Andalusian towns of Córdoba and Morón de la Frontera are expected to reach 43 ºC, while Seville will reach 41 ºC.
Spain, as a European country on the front lines of climate change, usually experiences high temperatures during the summer, especially in the south. However, in recent years, there has been an increase in the frequency of heat waves.