Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia must prepare for super-hot days

Dehydration, death and power cuts: What 50C days would look like in Australia ABC NEWS, 6 OCT 17, The Conversation By Liz Hanna, Australian National University Australia is hot. But future extreme hot weather will be worse still, with new research predicting that Sydney and Melbourne are on course for 50 degrees Celsius summer days by the 2040sif high greenhouse emissions continue.

That means that places such as Perth, Adelaide and various regional towns could conceivably hit that mark even sooner.

This trend is worrying, but not particularly surprising given the fact that Australia is setting hot weather records at 12 times the pace of cold ones. But it does call for an urgent response.

Most of us are used to hot weather, but temperatures of 50℃ present unprecedented challenges to our health, work, transport habits, leisure and exercise.

Humans have an upper limit to heat tolerance, beyond which we suffer heat stress and even death. Death rates do climb on extremely cold days, but increase much more steeply on extremely hot ones.

While cold weather can be tackled with warm clothes, avoiding heat stress requires access to fans or air conditioning, which is not always available……….

Preparing ourselves

Last year, the Australian Summit on Extreme Heat and Health warned that the health sector is underprepared to face existing heat extremes.

The health sector is concerned about Australia’s slow progress and is responding with the launch of a national strategy for climate, health and well-being.

Reinstating climate and health research, health workforce training and health promotion are key recommendations.

There is much more to be done, and the prospect of major cities sweltering through 50C days escalates the urgency.

Two key messages arise from this. The first is that Australia urgently needs to adapt to the extra warming.

Heat-wise communities (or “heat-safe communities” in some states) — where people understand the risks, protect themselves and look after each other — are vital to limit harm from heat exposure.

The health sector must have the resources to respond to those who succumb. Research, training and health promotion are central.

The second message is that nations across the world need to improve their efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions, so as to meet the Paris climate goal of holding global warming to 1.5C.

If we can do that, we can stave off some of the worst impacts. We have been warned.

Liz Hanna is an honorary senior fellow at the Australian National University.

Originally published in The Conversation http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-06/50-degree-days-what-would-sydney-and-melbourne-look-like/9024914

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October 7, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming

1 Comment »

  1. Many people will be unprepared or unable to prepare.

    Comment by GarryRogers | October 7, 2017 | Reply


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