Mark Ogge, Principal Advisor at the Australia Institute with heat and health expert, Dr Elizabeth Hanna at Auckland Point Lookout, Gladstone.
Mark Ogge, Principal Advisor at the Australia Institute with heat and health expert, Dr Elizabeth Hanna at Auckland Point Lookout, Gladstone. Matt Taylor GLA210918HEAT

HEAT IS ON: Experts warn of rise in extreme conditions

THE HEAT will be on in Central Queensland like we've never seen before, according to a report released by The Australia Institute.

The organisation's research claims that the number of extreme heat days over 35C in Gladstone has already exceeded the 2050 projections.

The CSIRO had projected that by 2050, Gladstone would see extreme heat days more than six times a year. But that is already happening and it's only going to get worse.

Author of the report and principal advisor at the institute, Mark Ogge said, "It's getting hotter year-round and night temperatures are getting hotter as well, and that's a real problem.

"Its going to increase deaths as the result of extreme heat, will impact people's health and well-being ... at work, particularly people in the mining industry and industrial sector.

"It will be really horrible working out there when you have extreme temperatures all the time because it's hard enough as it is."

The report highlighted research by the CSIRO whose projections, based on historical data, suggested days over 35C will increase to 19 a year by 2070.

But Mr Ogge has labelled those projections as "conservative" and "understated" because Bureau of Meteorology measurements in Gladstone already show on average 6.5 days a year above 35C.

He said the extreme heat is now at levels that were previously predicted would not happen until 2050.

Heat and public health expert Elizabeth Hanna said one of the issues contributing to Gladstone's extreme heat was the humidity level.

"In warm areas like this with humidity, it impacts the human body's ability to shed the extra heat we generate," she said.

"That makes people feel lethargic so it means you are not going to be able to feel motivated to work, mow the lawns, play sport or do all the usual daytime things.

"That's going to make people not want to live and work here, it's going to make working hard and add to other problems in tourism."

Even though the problem is worsening at a rapid pace, both Mr Ogge and Dr Hanna are sure the pace can be slowed and the effects can be reduced by cutting down on emissions.

They said it was our responsibility to take action and ensure our children didn't suffer in coming years.

"We need to stop this as much as possible because if this is left unchecked, the young children we see today are going to be living in a foul and horrible world," Dr Hanna said.

"It's our responsibility to leave them a decent living and a decent life where there's reasonable weather, plants and animals, fish and jobs.

"Everybody has families and everybody cares, so we need to try harder."



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