Threat of five-fold increase in extreme heat for Western Sydney

Extreme heat days over 35 degrees are projected to increase five-fold in Western Sydney, from 11 days per year to up to a staggering 52 days per year by 2090, according to new analysis from The Australia Institute’s HeatWatch initiative.

This landmark Western Sydney HeatWatch report from The Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program serves as the official launch of the national HeatWatch initiative in time for Summer. HeatWatch uses CSRIO-BoM modelling to show how areas to the west of Sydney will get hotter for longer with locations like Richmond expected to reach up to 67 extreme heat days by 2090.

“Western Sydney already has a serious problem with extreme heat. This will only be exacerbated as global warming drives up the frequency and intensity of extreme heat events,” says Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at The Australia Institute.

“This is a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of residents in Western Sydney. Heatwaves are already the biggest killer of all natural disasters in Australia. If these increases are allowed to occur, they will cause many more heat related deaths and illnesses.

“Extreme heat also has serious implications for essential infrastructure. Extreme heat damages roads and buckles rail lines. These increases will create further disruptions and add to the long travel times already suffered by people in these suburbs. 

“NSW’s old coal power plants regularly break down in heatwaves, increasing the risk of blackouts. If this happens, Sydneysiders may find themselves without air-conditioning in the sweltering heat.

“Our HeatWatch initiative has shown similar worrying trends in extreme heat around Australia, highlighting the impacts global warming is having on our country and our need to act.

“Fortunately this is not inevitable. CSIRO projections show that if we take action and reduce emissions we can prevent virtually all of these rises.” 

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