HEAT STORMS IN EUROPE
WHY IN NEWS?
- Recently, the two heat waves that recently struck Europe have been named after Greek mythology figures, Cerberus and Charon.
WHAT ARE HEAT STORMS ?
- A heat storm is a Californian term for an extended heat wave.
- Heat storms occur when the temperature reaches 100 °F (37.8 °C) for three or more consecutive days over a wide area (tens of thousands of square miles).
- The IPCC defines heat wave as “a period of abnormally hot weather, often defined with reference to a relative temperature threshold, lasting from two days to months.”
- Many areas of Europe are expected to see the mercury climb above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In the centre of the country, including Rome, temperatures are much higher than usual but are not the hottest.
- The worst of the effects are being felt on the Mediterranean Islands of Sicily and Sardina, as well as along the southern western coast of the mainland
- Severe heat waves have caused catastrophic crop failures, thousands of deaths from hyperthermia, increased risk of wildfires in areas with drought, and widespread power outages due to increased use of air conditioning.
CERBERUS AND CHARON :
- The first heat wave that hit the continent on July 10 was dubbed ‘Cerberus’, the latest one has been named ‘Charon’.
- Cerberus was a fearsome and tireless three-headed watchdog. Cerberus along with his sister Hydra, a gigantic water-snake-like monster, was picked by Hades, the god of the dead, to guard the entrances to hell.
- Charon, the ferryman who delivered souls into the underworld, was the child of Erebus and Nyx.
WHY THE HEAT WAVES ARE NAMED AFTER THEM ?
- The name Cerberus for the heat wave that struck Europe earlier in July became popular after an Italian weather website, iLMeteo, specifically chose the name for an anticyclone in the region, according to a report by Wired magazine.
- Charon is the name of the latest anticyclone, which came to southern Europe from north Africa.
- Much like in the case of the Cerberus heat wave, it remains unclear why exactly the new heat wave is being referred to as Charon.
- However, as heat waves are known to be, what scientists call them, the ‘silent killer’, Charon seems to be an appropriate name.
SYLLABUS: PRELIMS, CURRENT AFFAIRS