A heat wave gets a name (Zoe) – in Spain

  • This summer, Seville, a city in southwestern Spain, has experienced temperatures higher than 106 degrees Fahrenheit for about two weeks.
  • During this period, scientists identified a heatwave and named it Zoe.
  • Zoe is the first-ever heat wave to be named like hurricanes.

After temperatures reached a high of 112 degrees Fahrenheit in Spain, scientists for the first time gave a heat wave a name – all in the name of protecting public health. 

The heat wave, named Zoe, was recorded July 24-27 in the city of Seville, in southwestern Spain, said José María Martín Olalla, an associate professor in the department of condensed matter physics at Sevilla University.

The naming of heat wave Zoe came about because of the proMETEO Sevilla Project, a pilot program officially launched in June to rank heat waves and teach the public about them. Collaborating on the initiative is the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center of the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based research center and non-profit organization. 

The group created the naming and ranking system to alert locals and “prevent the hazards of exposure to the heat during the afternoon,” Martín Olalla told USA TODAY. It eventually could serve as a model for other cities and governments.

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