At least 15,000 people have died in Europe because of hot weather in 2022 so far, the World Health Organization has said, with Spain and Germany among the worst-affected countries.
The three months from June to August were the hottest in Europe since records began, and the exceptionally high temperatures led to the worst drought the continent has witnessed since the Middle Ages.
"Based on country data submitted so far, it is estimated that at least 15,000 people died specifically due to the heat in 2022," the WHO's Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge said in a statement.
"Nearly 4,000 deaths in Spain, more than 1,000 in Portugal, more than 3,200 in the UK, and around 4,500 deaths in Germany were reported by health authorities during the three months of summer," he added.
"This estimate is expected to increase as more countries report on excess deaths due to heat."
Crops withered in European breadbaskets, as the historic dry spell drove record wildfire intensity and placed severe pressure on the continent's power grid.
Successive heatwaves between June and July, which saw temperatures top 40C in Britain for the first time, saw some 24,000 excess deaths in Europe.
Last week, the United Nations said that temperatures in Europe have increased at more than twice the global average over the past three decades, showing the fastest rise of any continent on earth.
The European region has on average seen temperatures rise 0.5C each decade since 1991, the UN's World Meteorological Organization and the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service found in a joint report.
As a result, Alpine glaciers lost 100ft in ice thickness between 1997 and 2021, while the Greenland ice sheet is swiftly melting and contributing to accelerating sea level rise.
Last year, Greenland experienced melting and the first-ever recorded rainfall at its highest point.
The report also cautioned that regardless of future levels of global warming, temperatures would likely continue to rise across Europe at a rate exceeding global mean temperature changes.