Number of heat waves rising

Ljubljana, 8 June - Climate change is starting to show in Slovenia too, as the number and extent of heat waves have increased over the past decades. Brane Gregorčič of the Environment Agency said one or two heat waves a year had been recorded in Slovenia in the 20th century, but now they happened three or four times a year, even five last year.

Heat waves are a cause for concern, because they are not only more frequent, they are more intense and last longer, said climatologist Lučka Kajfež Bogataj from Ljubljana's Biotechnical Faculty.

Heat waves hit places all across Slovenia, including places such as the Zgornjesavska Dolina alpine valley in the north-west, where their occurrence was not usual before.

Data was unveiled as part of the EU's Heat Shield project in Ljubljana on Friday, with participants also pointing to the way heat waves affecting people.

Those who work outside such as construction workers, soldiers, fishermen, police officers and soldiers, are the most affected and it is up to employers to protect them from the heat, the participants stressed, noting that heat waves can be forecast a week in advance.

Metoda Dodič Fikfak of the Clinical Institute of Occupational, Traffic and Sports Medicine said that one person a year died of a heatstroke in Slovenia, but the effects of long exposure to the sun were far worse, with melanoma killing hundreds every year.