Households, businesses, power generators, and public infrastructure on the Sunshine Coast are under increased threat caused by a continuing increase in extreme heat temperatures, finds new research from The Australia Institute.
The Australia Institute’s new HeatWatch initiative, which uses CSIRO–BoM modelling, shows that the number of extreme heat days (over 35C) experienced on the Sunshine Coast could increase up to ten times current levels, and extreme heat nights (over 25C) could be the norm for more than half of summer by 2090.
“Combined with high humidity, the extreme temperatures forecast for the Sunshine Coast are likely to push many days each year to dangerous levels of heat stress,” says Richie Merzian, Director of The Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program.
“Humidity of 80% is common in the Sunshine Coast. When that is combined with 35-degree temperatures, it is considered extremely dangerous to people’s health and can be lethal. In the past, there have been very few days over 35 degrees, but if Australia doesn’t reduce emissions, that will change.
“There is an urgent need for adaptation measures to cope with increasing extreme heat on the Sunshine Coast, and across Australia.
“Queensland’s large and expanding coal and gas export activities are internationally significant and throwing fuel on the fire, driving the increase in extreme temperatures that will have such a devastating impact for the people who live on the Sunshine Coast.
“Fortunately this is not inevitable. CSIRO projections show that if we take action and reduce emissions we can prevent virtually all of these rises.
“Better still, the policies that help us prevent extreme heat are also great for creating jobs, boosting the economy, more comfortable houses, better transport and lower power prices. It means reducing our emissions is a win-win situation.”
Tanya Martin Office Manager
Jake Wishart Senior Media Adviser