A spatial vulnerability analysis of urban populations during extreme heat events in Australian capital cities

Extreme heat events pose a risk to the health of all individuals, especially the elderly and the chronically ill, and are associated with an increased demand for healthcare services. In order to address this problem, policy makers’ need information about temperatures above which mortality and morbidity of the exposed population is likely to increase, where the vulnerable groups in the community are located, and how the risks from extreme heat events are likely to change in the future.

Protecting human health and safety during severe and extreme heat events: A national framework

Heatwaves kill more Australians than any other natural disasters. They have received far less public attention than cyclone, flood or bushfire – they are private, silent deaths which only hit the media when morgues reach capacity or infrastructure fails. There has never been a national study which uses a common definition of heatwaves and directly comparable mortality data. Australia has no national heatwave plan. This report remedies these deficiencies and recommends strategies for the national, state and local governments as well as for citizens.

Impacts and Adaptation Response of Infrastructure and Communities to Heatwaves: The South Australian Experience of 2009

This report captures the nature of the 2009 heatwave in South Australia. It provides a very useful overview of the meteorological characteristics that set up the heatwave event and introduces the subsequent ramifications on human health, energy, transport, water and telecommunication networks. The report also explores the responses by various organizations (e.g. police and ambulance) and gives an overview of the potential barriers facing adaptation. This reading is a must for those exploring the impacts that heat can have on the urban system.

Climate Change and Health in the Urban Environment: Adaptation Opportunities in Australian Cities

Urban populations are growing rapidly throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Cities are vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change because of their concentration of people and infrastructure, the physical (geographical, material, and structural) attributes of the built environment, and the ecological interdependence with the urban ecosystem. Australia is one of the most highly urbanized countries in the region and its already variable climate is set to become hotter and drier with climate change.

The Effects of Extreme Heat on Population Health in Australia

Numerous studies have associated high ambient temperatures with adverse health outcomes. Extreme environmental heat can trigger the onset of acute conditions as well as exacerbate a range of underlying illnesses. Due to stresses placed on the body’s thermoregulatory mechanisms, failure to adequately dissipate increased body heat can lead to heat-related illnesses ranging in severity from mild to life threatening.

Implications of Climate Change for Health Services in Australia

The aim of this discussion paper is to propose "a framework discussion for consideration by policy makers at Commonwealth, state and local levels in addition to public health professionals, clinicians and aged care service providers who are at the front line of delivery of services." The discussion paper highlights the challenges facing health professionals as: 1) heat stress, exacerbation of heat related chronic conditions 2) infectious diseases (for example, possible expansion of dengue fever 3) food and water borne diseases 4) increased extreme weather events (floods, storms, fires)

Hands-On Energy Adaptation Toolkit (HEAT)

"HEAT Toolkit is designed to lead you through as assessment of climate vulnerabilities and adaptation options in the energy sector of your country. HEAT can help you raise awareness among key stakeholders and initiate dialogue on energy sector adaptation.HEAT uses a bottom-up, stakeholder-based, qualitative/semi-quantitative risk-assessment approach to discuss and identify risks, adaptation measures, and their costs and benefits. It draws on experience and published guidance from the United Kingdom and Australia, as well as existing research and literature."

Rising to the Challenge - The City of London Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.

The City of London adaptation strategy explores the process of managing flood risks, water resources, heat risks and air pollution, ground conditions, identifying cross-cutting issues and opportunities. The options are categorised into research and monitoring, policy and practical actions.