Fatal health consequences from heatwaves?

The latest report from the Climate Council – now community-funded and led by Professor Tim Flannery following its axing by the federal government last year – has warned that recent prolonged heatwaves experienced across Australia are likely to become increasingly common.

The report Heatwaves: hotter, longer, more often provides a historical analysis of national weather patterns and temperatures showing that during the period 1971–2008 both the duration and frequency of heatwaves increased. The hottest days recorded during heatwaves also rose during the same period.

“Heatwaves pose a widespread risk for Australians as they affect people in all capital cities and most regional areas,” the authors wrote. 

“Over the past 100 years, heatwaves have caused more deaths than any other natural hazard.

“It is crucial that communities; emergency services; health, medical and social services; and other