Posts tagged ‘heat’
Last week I attended the release and launch of the Climate Council’s latest report of health impacts of extreme heatwaves. Climate change and the urban heat island effect result in increased frequency and intensity of extreme heat events. They are silent killers especially affecting those most vulnerable. Our political leaders need to heed the advice of the experts involved in this Climate Council report on heat health (PDF 4.2MB). They issued a concise statement calling for action (reproduced in full below).
Tuesday, February 23, is going to be very bloody hot, with Melbourne as part of the Central District now issued a heat health alert.
Three country districts had early heat health alerts issued by Vichealth: Northern, North-east, and North-central districts. On Monday Central district, including Melbourne, and South and West Gippsland had heat health alerts issued. On Monday evening Est Gippsland and North East District Heat Health alerts were issued.
Stay cool, leave out water for wildlife, and definitely don’t leave any children, pets or grandparents in the car (Definite no-no).
Bushfire risk at the moment is rated severe. A total fire ban has been issued in 8 of Victoria’s 9 districts.
We hope you have adapted to the heatwaves this summer in Melbourne. The change in the frequency, duration and intensity of Extreme heat events has been shown to be clearly linked to climate change and human carbon pollution.
It was gratifying to see the heat health threat has been amplified during recent emergency services briefings such as on Tuesday 12 January.
This clearly needed to happen as heat stress and heat related mortality is a substantial issue that has been poorly adressed in the past.
Don’t be fooled by the cool January we have experienced, temperatures are warming up. Melbourne experienced it’s coldest January in 10 years despite the initial couple of extreme heat days at the start of the month. Although Melbourne’s average maximum temperature of 25.9 degrees was the same as the long term average, the average minimum temperature was 1.6 degrees higher than the long term average.
In previous years the average maximum temperature for Melbourne was 28.6 degrees in 2014, 27.3 in 2013 and 27.4 in 2012. The January average minimum temperature was 15.9 degrees, the lowest since 2005, and above the long-term average of 14.3 degrees.
As January maximum temperatures spike into the high 30s and low 40s (degrees Celsius) and minimum overnight temperatures approach 30 degrees, we have had our first Heat Health alert issued by the Victorian Department of Health for 2015.
On Friday 2 January 2015 heatwave conditions enveloped much of southeast Australia with temperatures reaching 43.3C in Adelaide and 38.7C in Melbourne.
Overnight temperatures on Friday night (2 January) hovered about 30 degrees in Melbourne and 24.5C in Adelaide. These minimum temperatures are more than enough to disrupt sleep adding to heat stress and associated heat-related health emergencies. (see Grunstein, Too Hot to Sleep? Here’s why, The Conversation, 8 January 2013).
Although Melbourne was predicted to exceed 40C on Saturday (3 January) the temperature only reached 37.7C at 3.30pm. That afternoon a storm front brought some rain and relief, a cool change plunging the mercury just before 6pm.
The Moreland Transport Forum was held on Monday, just a few hours after Premier Denis Napthine signed the East West Link contracts. A few of us from Climate Action Moreland attended handing out our leaflet on East West Link being Climate Madness, and a climate postcard.
Andrea Bunting from our group submitted the following question to be asked at the forum. It was the most highly rated question.
With climate change, we are facing a hotter, carbon-constrained world. Currently during heatwaves we can experience power failures for public transport, unbearable heat in trams and trains, and buckling of train tracks. Dark roads also amplify the urban heat island effect; hence temperatures in our urban areas are much hotter, leading to increased deaths and illness. What will you to do (a) reduce dependency on fossil fuel usage in transport; (b) ensure that all transport infrastructure can deal with heat waves; and (c) reduce urban heat island effect from dark roads?
The question was asked slightly differently in person at the forum to all three candidates – sitting member for Brunswick Jane Garrett MP, Greens candidate for Brunswick Tim Read, and Liberal Party no 2 on the ticket for Northern metro region (Upper house) Gladys Liu.