Adelaide could experience nearly three times as many extreme heat days over 35 degrees by 2090, as well as 600% more days over 40 degrees, unless comprehensive action is undertaken to tackle global warming, according to new analysis from The Australia Institute’s HeatWatch initiative.
The report, from The Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy Program, uses CSRIO-BoM modelling to show how areas in and around Adelaide will get hotter, more regularly, if the government fails to act on reducing carbon emissions.
“Adelaide already has some of the hottest weather of any Australian capital city and, unless we do more to tackle dangerous global warming, that is only going to get worse,” said Noah Schultz-Byard, The Australia Institute’s SA projects manager.
“This report paints a clear and unnerving picture of the very real way that global warming will affect all aspects of our state, including our productivity, livelihoods, infrastructure and economy.
“In Australia, heatwaves are a bigger killer than all other natural disasters combined and Adelaide already has the highest heatwave death rate of any capital city. Having even hotter days, even more regularly, will be devastating for people in South Australia.
“The good news though is that it’s not too late to take action. CSIRO projections show that if we reduce carbon emissions now and take preventative action to limit global warming into the future, we can avoid the majority of these temperature increases.”
Doctor Eleanor Evans, an Adelaide based GP and member of Doctors for the Environment Australia, said it is the elderly, the sick and children who will suffer the worst health effects from the projected increase in extreme heat days.
“With more extreme heat days in Adelaide there will be a direct increase in heat related deaths and illnesses, such as dehydration, heat stress and heat stroke” said Dr Evans.
“Heatwaves increase pressure on ambulance and emergency room services, increase air pollution and even make workplace accidents more likely.
“Children are especially vulnerable to extreme heat because they’re more susceptible to heat stress and dehydration. If we’re going to protect the youngest and most vulnerable among us, the time to tackle dangerous global warming is now.”
The full report is available here