The National Emergency Management Authority in the Israel Ministry of Defense and the Israel Meteorological Service published an extreme weather national reference scenario on Sunday that is focused on heat waves resulting from the climate crisis.
The scenario is a binding document and forms the basis for preparation of government ministries and planning and operative bodies.
The agencies behind the document estimate that two severe 3-4 day heat waves will take place per month in the summer (June-September), with the temperature reaching to 49 degrees celsius.
Peak electricity consumption will increase by 10 percent, mortality is expected to increase by 8.5 percent above average, average hospitalization due to cardiovascular diseases will be 10-15 percent higher, and the chance of fires will increase, the scenario estimates.
The State of Israel has traditionally prepared for various emergencies, crises and disasters which may endanger human life, cause severe damage to daily life, national infrastructures, security capabilities, and significantly harm national resilience.
The National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) in the Israel Ministry of Defense is responsible for understanding threats in the civilian sphere and creating reference scenarios for preparing government ministries and emergency bodies accordingly.
In response to the increase in climate-related events in recent years, NEMA and the Israel Meteorological Service formulated reference scenarios for extreme weather like floods, fires, and the new reference scenario for extreme heat waves.
A heat wave is a long period of hot weather that affects large parts of the country’s population or large areas within the country, causes disruptions in daily life, and leads to considerable economic damage to the point of harming human life.
These heat waves require early preparation, coordination and involvement of several bodies and authorities in order to reduce damage and return to normal circumstances as quickly as possible, a government communique warned.
The attribution scenario estimates heat waves will impact the entire country, with most extreme conditions generally prevailing in the eastern valleys and less severe conditions in mountainous regions.
Severe heat waves are expected to take place between June to September. There will be slightly milder conditions from May to October than in the summer, the ministry said.
A heat wave reaches its peak for the duration of about 3-4 days, but usually includes around one week or even ten days that are warmer than average. There may also be two heat waves within the same month with a short break between them, as has happened in past years.
According to the reference scenario, the temperature in the coastal plain during a heat wave will reach 35 degrees celsius and more than 50 percent humidity, mountainous regions will reach up to 42 degrees celsius, the Negev Desert and the northern valleys up to 44 degrees celsius, and 49 degrees celsius in the Jordan Valley and the Arava region.
“The attribution scenario we are distributing to government ministries showcases the implications of a serious event,” said Director of the National Emergency Management Authority, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Yoram Laredo.
“It describes the periods of the year prone to heat waves, their expected frequency, heat maps, peak temperatures expected at any point in Israel and the implications to prepare for, from an increase in electricity consumption and the risk of huge fires to a significant increase in morbidity and mortality.”