No sooner has the Premier League wrapped up, has the attention of millions turned toward a belated ‘summer of football’. Shoved into 2021 by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 16th UEFA European Championship looms large (a.k.a. ‘Euro 2020’).
Unusually, this year’s tournament will be held in stadiums across the continent, rather than in one country.
Because of this, the players can expect to experience a wide variety of temperatures. In the north, it may be as cool as the mid-teens Celsius if a match coincides with rainy weather. Down south, temperatures can readily reach the low 30s in dry, sunny conditions. Days hitting the mid-high 30s are not uncommon in parts of Spain and Southeast Europe.
While it can be that hot in the north, the frequency is much lower. See how it looks for 28 and 32°C, for example, between mid-June and mid-July (Euro 2020 spans 11th June to 11th July):
Please click on an image to view it in full resolution.
Typically, 4 in 5 days reach at least 28°C in southern Spain and parts of Southeast Europe. By contrast, in northern UK and much of Scandinavia, less than 1 in 10 days reach that mark!
In much of southern Europe, there’s around a 50% chance that any given day reaches 32°C. That’s hot enough for extra measures to be required to keep players hydrated.
World Cup Wonder
Considering these statistics, some of you may be wondering what on Earth competing players will be facing when they travel to Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, a place widely known for scorching hot summers with temperatures frequently climbing well into the 40s °C. Might there be a cancellation risk, at a huge loss to fans, and in turn the event insurers?
Well, believe it or not, it’s not always hot there – Qatar has a cool season! At least, relatively speaking…
Sometimes it Pays to be Unconventional
Like Euro 2020, the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held during an unusual part of the year. This time, forced by the climate of Qatar, not a pandemic (…we hope!).
The scheduled dates are 21st November to 18th December 2022. Well away from the Northern Hemisphere summer season. In fact, this falls into the opening stages of a ‘cool season’ that Qatar has despite being surrounded by a body of water (Persian Gulf) connecting to a tropical ocean (Indian Ocean).
During this time, typical daytime highs drop from the low 30s to the mid-20s °C, overnight lows from low 20s to mid-teens °C. Meanwhile, it stays predominantly dry and sunny. It may well look like paradise to those with far less palatable autumn-winter climates!
Dwindling Heat Stress
According to Wikipedia, the 2022 FWC is planned to be held at venues within 5 Qatar cities: Al-Khor, Lusail, Doha, Al-Rayyan and Al-Wakrah.
Querying these locations and dates on MetSwift’s risk analysis platform, the following results were compiled:
The risk of the 28 and 32°C thresholds falls steadily during November. By the mid-stages of the tournament, players should rarely have to deal with heat stress.
BUT this is not to say that they can rest easy on the water intake.
Being a desert climate, the air in Qatar is typically at low relative humidity. This essentially means that there’s a lot of ‘room’ in the air for moisture to evaporate into. That includes sweat, so when exercising vigorously, water loss will be high, even in merely ‘warm’ conditions (low to mid 20s °C).
So, players will need to drink more than they would for a typical Premier League or Bundesliga match, for example.
Provided they do that, they can enjoy some of the finest sporting weather on Earth. Qatar makes the most of this, regularly hosting a huge number of sporting events (around 80!) during its winter season. The 2022 FIFA World Cup is just the icing on the cake!
James Peacock MSc
Head Meteorologist at MetSwift
Cover Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA