Switzerland faces the largest rise in uncomfortably hot days, study finds

Switzerland faces the largest rise in uncomfortably hot days, study finds

With country coming off the back of a major heatwave, and with more hot weather on the way, a new study by the University of Oxford has revealed that Switzerland will be the country worst affected by an increase in “uncomfortably hot days.” They explained that if global temperatures - spurred on by climate change - rise by two degrees celsius, Swiss housing is ill-prepared to cope.

Switzerland to see biggest rise in uncomfortably hot days

In the study, reported by Sky News, experts noted that homes in Switzerland are “dangerously underprepared “ to deal with rising temperatures. They calculated that if global temperatures rise by two degrees on average - 0,5 degrees above the global target for warming, which the study says is “increasingly out of reach” - Swiss cities and cantons will see a 30 percent increase in what it calls “uncomfortably hot days”, placing joint first in the world with the United Kingdom.

In short, uncomfortably hot days are defined as periods of time when people need cooling down. To create each nation’s score, once the 2-degree rise is taken into account, daily temperatures in each nation are compared to a base average of 18 degrees. Every day over the average is counted as an uncomfortably hot day, with hotter days of the year given more weight than days closer to the average.

Switzerland ill-prepared to deal with heatwaves

Speaking to Sky News, study lead Dr Nicole Miranda explained that while nations along the equator will see more hot days in total, Switzerland will see the biggest rise and will likely suffer more because Swiss housing is designed to keep heat in, not out.

Darker roofs and thicker insulation may keep us toasty warm in the mountains or in midwinter, but their heat-absorbing properties make them ill-suited to heatwaves and high temperatures. With hot summers becoming more common than cold winters, the study's authors noted that Switzerland will have to adapt to the climate more than other nations.

Experts warn against using more air conditioning

Dr Miranda warned that the excessive amounts of heat in northern Europe could lead to a “vicious cycle” - where families and individuals attempt to cool their houses by installing air conditioners, even though getting permission to instal air conditioning in Switzerland is infamously difficult. "By buying more air conditioners, we use more energy, leading to higher greenhouse gases and global warming, and then we buy more air conditioners again, we need to break that cycle," she noted.

In all, the study argued that Switzerland remains “traditionally unprepared for heat” despite the heatwaves of recent years. “Immediate and unprecedented adaptation interventions are required worldwide to be prepared for a hotter world,” they concluded.

For more information, check out the official study.

Thumb image credit: Michael Derrer Fuchs /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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