How are cities, agriculture and healthcare systems preparing for the heatwaves of the future? We visit European “hotspots”, ask how heat impacts our lives and introduce possible management strategies.

Heat waves are increasing in frequency, duration and intensity. One temperature record is quickly broken by another. In view of this alarming trend, scientists are concerned with one especially urgent question: just how hot will it become in future? Urban areas are impacted particularly severely by hot temperatures. According to experts, Paris may reach record temperatures of over 50°C in years to come. But heatwaves are an enormous challenge for rural areas, too, and even in the Mediterranean Sea, temperatures are rising at an alarming rate. Although our bodies have a number of cooling mechanisms, these are reaching their limits far faster than we thought possible. So how can we protect ourselves from extreme heat if temperatures continue to climb? What strategies can help us cope with this new heat reality? Scientists are searching for answers to these pressing questions, because the race against the thermometer has long since begun. We visit western European “hotspots” and find out about the different ways heatwaves are impacting our lives. International scientists and experts introduce possible management strategies.