Wednesday, January 15, 2014

More Australians Die From Heatwaves Than From Fire And Floods Combined

 How crazy are the heatwave extremes now frying West Australia, South Australia and Victoria? Well, the Northern Territory News is claiming Darwin is "chilly" and just the place to "beat the heat":

From the Sydney Morning Herald:
The number of heatwave-related deaths in Australia’s major cities is set to quadruple by mid-century, research shows.

There will be more than 2000 heat-related fatalities in 2050 compared with about 500 recorded in 2011, according to a federal government report.

The meteorological bullet will hit Brisbane and Perth the hardest, with deaths predicted to climb to nearly 800 in each city by 2050, compared with less than 200 in 2011.

Launching the State of Australian Cities Report on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said climate change, population growth and the ageing population would all contribute to the growing death toll.

‘The overriding evidence is that our cities are getting hotter,’’ Mr Albanese told reporters in Sydney.

‘‘Heatwaves are our biggest national killer, well ahead of fire and floods.

‘‘This has particular relevance as our population ages.‘‘City residents are more vulnerable because of the Heat Island Effect (HIE) ... which can add up to four degrees to temperatures.’’

The report shows that heatwaves in the major cities are more deadly than other natural disasters, causing 2887 deaths since 1890.

This is more than bushfires (843), cyclones (935), earthquakes (13), floods (453) and severe storms (124) combined.

More than 400 people died in Melbourne and Adelaide alone from the 2009 heatwave in southeast Australia.The 1939 and 1895 heatwaves also caused more than 400 fatalities.
Here's a graphic of Australia's hottest days on record: