The number of extreme heat days over 35°c and 40°c will increase dramatically across the South East of South Australia unless more is done to tackle global warming, according to new research from The Australia Institute’s HeatWatch initiative which uses BoM and CSIRO climate projections.
HeatWatch – Extreme Heat in South East SA shows that both Mount Gambier and Murray Bridge could experience nearly twice as many extreme days over 35°c by 2050 and three times as many by 2090.
Mount Gambier and Murray Bridge could also experience five times as many days over 40°c by 2090, according to the predictions.
“The South East of our state is already sweltering through summer, year on year. Now we know that, unless we do more to tackle dangerous global warming, things are only going to get worse,” said Noah Schultz-Byard, The Australia Institute’s SA projects manager.
“This report paints a clear picture of the very real way that global warming will affect one of South Australia’s key food producing areas. More regular heatwaves, that are even more extreme, will have a disastrous impact on local productivity, livelihoods, infrastructure, health and the economy.
“In Australia, heatwaves are a bigger killer than all other natural disasters combined. When the temperature reaches 35°c or more, our body’s ability to function well and cool itself is compromised. This can cause severe illness including heat stroke and organ damage, especially to the heart, which can be fatal.
“The good news is that it’s not too late to take action. If we reduce our carbon emissions now and take preventative action to limit global warming into the future, we can safeguard local industries and avoid the majority of these temperature increases.
“Strong climate policies could also create significant economic opportunities for the region via a proliferation of wind and solar energy projects.”
The full report is available for download here