The subject focus, negotiated with my lecturer, highlights the impact of increasing temperature and heatwaves due to climate change and the urban heat island effect with regard to Melbourne.
Students in my class were expected to write up five peer reviewed articles for their research subject. My goal was always to prepare something much more comprehensive and so I negotiated with my lecturer to use 10 peer reviewed articles from this longer annotated bibliography for my assessment. My project turned out much more involving than even I expected.
These entries comprise peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed academic studies, grey literature, and news reports, and a few specific websites. Some articles definitely went off on a tangent with only a very general focus to the region or topic at hand. While Melbourne was a definite spatial focus, I used research from around Australia and the globe to inform my discussion of temperature related climate impacts, mitigation and adaptation action in Melbourne.
My literature review was structured in two parts: the first on climate impacts and the second on risk management, mitigation and adaptation.
I prepared a presentation to my class and wrote up and published the handout at NMIT in a slightly more polished form (also available here on this blog). The presentation slides were published at slideshare.
John Englart 10 February 2015
Akbari, H., S. Menon, and A. Rosenfeld (2009) Global cooling: Increasing world-wide urban albedos to offset CO2, Climatic Change, 95, 3-4, 275-286, doi:10.1007/s10584-008-9515-9.
Summary: This study proposed that increasing the urban albedo through using white roofs and other higher reflective surfaces could reduce raised temperatures due to the urban heat island effect, producing energy saving and CO2 emissions through reduced air conditioning. Reductions of more than 20% of cooling costs can be achieved by increasing rooftop albedo from 10-20% to 60% in US states.
Akompab, D.A., Peng Bi, Susan Williams, Janet Grant, Iain A. Walker and Martha Augoustinos (2013) Heat Waves and Climate Change: Applying the Health Belief Model to Identify Predictors of Risk Perception and Adaptive Behaviours in Adelaide, Australia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2013, 10(6), 2164-2184; doi:10.3390/ijerph10062164
Summary: This study examined the predictors of risk perception for heatwaves in the City of Adelaide to highlight possible adaptive measures that could be undertaken. Based on a health survey of 267 participants in Adelaide undertaken in 2012. The study found that age was a significant predictor of risk perception. If people lived with others and had fans had a high risk perception. Married people and those on High income people tended to have a lower perception of risk. Those displaying adaptive behaviour were more likely to be people who saw a perceived benefit, a cue to action, or had knowledge of heatwaves. Those with further education past high school and incomes exceeding $60,000 were more likely to have high adaptive behaviour.
Critique: Important for assessing how people evaluate the risks from heatwaves and factors which help predict adaptive behaviours. May be useful for behavioural change programs for combatting the risks of heatwaves.
Alberici, E. (Presenter), & O'Neill, M (Reporter). (2014, June 2) Cities need adapt to deadly heatwaves: Lateline, [video podcast and transcript] Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2014/s4017438.htm
Summary: Reports on the growing threat of heatwaves to urban areas like Sydney and Melbourne and some urban adaptations to reduce the urban heat island effect including lighter coloured roads and footpaths, white roofs, green roofs and walls, and urban forestry and the associated need to recycle water to maintain urban forests.
Critique: Excellent news summary of impacts and adaptations to reduce the UHI.
Argüeso, D., Jason P. Evans, Lluís Fita, Kathryn J. Bormann, (2013) Temperature response to future urbanization and climate change. Climate Dynamics May 2013 DOI 10.1007/s00382-013-1789-6
Summary: This study highlights the combined impact of both new urbanization and climate change on near-surface temperatures for greater Sydney, with positive feedbacks between urban expansion and global warming at the local scales. While Maximum daytime temperatures (Tmax) for Sydney are projected to only increase slightly and mostly in the winter, most of the change will be seen in substantial increases in nigt-time temperatures (Tmin), particularly in Spring and Summer months. Urban expansion in Western Sydney is creating a multitude of new estates on Sydney's fringes expected to house more than 100,000 residents. These new urban areas are likely to experience the largest rises in temperature of up to 3.7 degrees Celsius by 2050 due to the interaction of land use change, global warming and the urban heat island effect.
Australian Goverenment (2013) Australian State of the Cities 2013 report Chapter 4 on Sustainability
Summary: Investigates the sustainability problems, issues, and possible solutions in Australian cities. Outlines the impact of temperatures and the urban heat island effect in cities and ways to combat the UHI including: using a risk management adaptation toolkit, changing road colour and reflectivity; green walls, urban forests and greenbelts; energy efficiency and heat stress mitigation; waste recycling and recovery and composting; increasing transport energy efficiency.
Critique: A thorough discussion of sustainability issues on Australian urban environments with case studies of some groundbreaking projects being undertaken to manage climate risk and institute greater preparedness and community resilience to extreme events.
Banwell, C., Jane Dixon, Hilary Bambrick, Ferne Edwards, and Tord Kjellström (2012) Socio-cultural reflections on heat in Australia with implications for health and climate change adaptation. Global Health Action. 2012; 5: 10.3402/gha.v5i0.19277
Summary: Investigates the ways that vulnerable people adapt their personal behaviour to cope with extreme heat in Australia. Participants in the study used a variety of personal methods of cooling during heat events, as well as changing activity to better accommodate the conditions and altering dietary habits. Most people utilised air-conditioning with an awareness of it's increased energy use and cost. This qualitative study examines the historical relationship and understanding of people and their ambivalence with the hot climate. The study argues that cultural attitudes to heat shape everyday practices with most research in this area being quantitative. In comparison, this study used qualitative data of interviews with elderly vulnerable people from western Sydney to examine what people actually do to reduce discomfit and health risks.
Critique: One of the few qualitative studies in this area which illuminates peoples adaptive response to extreme heat and their culturally determined views on extreme heat and climate change. Discusses how this cultural ambivalence may have affected the slow take-up of solar energy and perhaps fostered a degree of denial in the necessity to act on climate change.
Brown, R.R. and M.A. Farrelly (2009) Challenges ahead: social and institutional factors influencing sustainable urban stormwater management in Australia . Water Science and Technology. 59 (4), pp653-660
Summary: Increasingly, stormwater is seen as a valuable resource to be managed rather than as a waste product with an increasing awareness of and necessity for Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD). This study was based upon a survey of 800 urban water professionals in Australia in 2006 for assessing perceptions of improving urban storm water quality to improve urban waterway health and whether there was the political imperitive to share this perspective. It provides a statistical snapshot of professional views and impediments on implementing Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD). Major impediments to uptake of WSUD are not only technological, but also social and institutional arrangements which impede efforts at stormwater quality management for clean waterways and better flash flood mitigation in urban areas.
Critique: While not addressing climate per se, this study does highlight that it is not only technological unfrastructure that is required in adopting best practice stormwater management, but also challenging social perceptions and institutional intransigence.
Bureau of Meteorology (2012) Special Climate Statement 41 - Extreme November heat in eastern Australia, issued 4 December 2012.
Summary: Describes a November heatwave as 'One of the most significant spring heatwaves on record affected large parts of eastern Australia in the last week of November 2012 '. Maximum and minimum temperature records were broken. 18 long term stations broke their November temperature records. It was 'the hottest November day on record over 33.8 per cent of Victoria, 10.4 per cent of New South Wales and 1.2 per cent of South Australia. 'The dewpoint reached 20.7 °C at Melbourne at 6 a.m., the highest November dewpoint on record3 at Melbourne, breaking the previous record of 20.2 °C set on 28 November 2000. The very moist air contributed to the development of severe thunderstorms in parts of Victoria on the evening of 30 November, including one that affected the regional city of Ballarat with large hail, strong winds and flash flooding.'
Bureau of Meteorology (2013) Special Climate Statement 43 - Extreme heat in January 2013, updated 1 February 2013.
Summary: This series of heatwaves was remarkable for its extent over most of Australia. 'An exceptionally extensive and long-lived heatwave affected large parts of Australia in late December 2012 and the first weeks of January 2013. Whilst the heat was most extreme and persistent in the central and southern interior of the continent, most of Australia experienced extreme heat at some stage during the event.'
Critique: Extensive temperature records broken.
Bureau of Meteorology (2013) Special Climate Statement 45 – a prolonged Autumn heatwave for southeast Australia, issued 15 March 2013.
Summary: 'The March heatwave was characterised by prolonged sequences of days and nights above threshold temperatures that were, in places, up to 10 °C above the long-term (1961-1990) average for maximum temperature and more than 6 °C above average for minimum temperature. ' 'Records for consecutive hot days were set at numerous locations across these States (Table 2) but particularly in the Melbourne region. Melbourne recorded 9 consecutive days of 30 °C or above from 4 to 12 March, all of which exceeded 32 °C. This is the longest spell of days of 30°C or above in any month since records began in 1855, and two days longer than the previous March record of 7 days. Melbourne also set a record for any month for consecutive warm nights, with 7 consecutive nights of 20°C or above from 7 to 13 March.'
Critique: Extensive Autumn March temperature records broken.'
Bureau of Meteorology (2013) Special Climate Statement 46 – Australia's warmest September on record, issued 2 October 2013.
Summary: 'September 2013 has been Australia’s warmest on record. Monthly mean temperatures 1 , averaged nationally, were 2.75 °C above the 1961–1990 average, more than a full degree ahead of the previous September record, set in 1983....September’s warmth was exceptional both by day and by night, with both monthly maximum and minimum temperatures being the highest on record for September. ' 'Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide all had their warmest September on record for both maximum and minimum temperatures, as did Canberra for maximum temperatures, with Melbourne’s September mean maximum exceeding 20 °C for the first time. All four cities also set records for monthly mean temperatures.'
Critique: Many daily temperature records broken
Bureau of Meteorology (2014) Special Climate Statement 47 – an intense heatwave in central and eastern Australia, issued 21 January 2014.
Summary: 'Extensive heatwave with 34 locations with 40 or more years of data, mostly in Queensland and New South Wales had their hottest day on record between 30 December and 4 January. Mostly covered Queensland and NSW and to a lesser extent SA and WA.
Critique: Many daily temperature records broken
Bureau of Meteorology (2014) Special Climate Statement 48 – one of southeast Australia's most significant heatwaves, updated 21 January 2014.
Summary: 'Extensive heatwave with 34 locations with 40 or more years of data, mostly in Queensland and New South Wales had their hottest day on record between 30 December and 4 January. Mostly covered Queensland and NSW and to a lesser extent SA and WA....The highest absolute temperatures occurred in the initial phase of the event, in Western Australia. Emu Creek reached 49.2°C on 10 January, and Onslow 48.8°C on 8 January, while further south, Kellerberrin reached 47.5°C on the 12th, and Cunderdin, Mullewa and Murchison all reached 47°C.
Critique: Many daily temperature records broken
Bureau of Meteorology (2014) Special Climate Statement 49 – an exceptionally prolonged autumn warm spell over much of Australia, issued 29 May 2014.
Summary: exceptionally prolonged warm spell affected large parts of Australia during May 2014. The unusual warmth was concentrated in the southeast of the continent, with areas affected including Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Hobart. 'unusual feature of this event is that maximum and minimum temperatures have been above average to a broadly similar extent'.
Critique: Event was more exceptional for its duration, however a number of record-high maximum and minimum temperatures records were broken. Record for Melbourne - 13 days for most consecutive days of 20 °C or above. Victoria - 9 consecutive days from 14 to 22 May with a statewide mean maximum above 20 °C, matching the record set from 1 to 9 May 1972.
Burton, P, Lyons, K, Richards, C, Amati, M, Rose, N, Desfours, L, Pires, V, Barclay, R, (2013), Urban food security, urban resilience and climate change, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast, pp.160.
Summary: This study examines the issue of urban food security and climate change including case studies for the Gold Coast and Melbourne. Economic crises, fuel shortages, local transport network failures and extreme weather events such as major storms and floods have the capacity to disrupt food supply and distribution highlighting the fragility of infrastructure. While there is some concern by government of aggregate impact of climate change on agriculture and food production, little attention has been paid to the fragility of food supply chains and the role urban agriculture could play in urban resilience for urban populations. The study involved a major literature review plus 2 case studies with qualitative one on one and focus group interviews.
Critique: Provides a thorough discussion of urban agriculture and it's contribution to urban food security and urban resilience, including problems of being recognised as important at the level of state agencies especially for providing community and social benefits and it's social yield in constructing a more sustainable, fair and resilient food system.
Buxton, M., Rachel Haynes, David Mercer, Andrew Butt, (2011) Vulnerability to Bushfire Risk at Melbourne’s Urban Fringe: The Failure of Regulatory Land Use Planning. Geographical Research. Vol. 49 Issue 1, p1-12. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-5871.2010.00670.x.
Summary: Assesses the vulnerability to bushfire risk of Melbourne's urban fringe and the importance of land use planning for minimising risk. Climate Change is causing rising temperatures, reduced rainfall and soil moisture thus increasing the risk of bushfire which necessitates better land use planning and regulation.
Byard, R.W. (2013) Heat-related deaths. Forensic Sci Med Pathol. DOI 10.1007/s12024-013-9413-y
Summary: Explains the difficulties in determining at time of autopsy a diagnosis of heat related death. It details some of the impacts of the 2009 heatwave in South Australia including that a refrigerated container had to be hired and installed next to the state mortuary to deal with the increased storage requirements due to the unprecedented number of heatwave related deaths. This raises emergency preparedness issues and Byard concludes that forewarning and disaster victim management preparedness are both important from the perspective of morgues and forensic pathologists who work there.
City of Melbourne Council (2012) Urban Forest Strategy. Making a great city greener 2012-2032
Summary: Current Melbourne Local Government area canopy cover is estimated at 11% with tree canopy covering about 22% of public streets and parks while canopy cover on private land is only 3%. Melbourne's current urban forest is vulnerable due to it's lack of diversity, reduced tree health due to lack of rainfall, water restrictions, extreme heat, and urban development expansion, along with a large proportion of trees approaching the end of their useful life expectancy. In 2012 the City of Melbourne published it's Urban Forestry Strategy in which they recognised the need to increase vegetation across the Melbourne CBD by setting an ambitious target of doubling the canopy cover by 2040. Other goals include increasing forest diversity by a much broader range of tree species and limiting the extent of any one species, improving vegetation health, improving soil moisture and water quality, and increase in urban ecology and urban wildlife diversity, and engaging with the community over greening the city and the urban forestry program. This program is very much driven by a need to build greater urban resilience in response to rising temperatures, the urban heat island effect and climate change.
City of Sydney (2014). Urban Heat Island Effect. Measuring the effect in Sydney.
Summary: Details on increasing surface albedo of chippendale roads to reduce UHI
Climate Commission Secretariat. 2011. The Critical Decade: Climate science, risks and responses. Australian Government, Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency
Summary: Major report assessing the scientific risks and opportunities of Climate change and the importance of taking mitigation action for Australia.
Climate Institute. (2012) Coming Ready or Not: Managing climate risks to Australia’s infrastructure . The Climate Institute, 2012.
Summary: A report by the Climate Institute in house research team on managing climate risk and impacts to infrastructure. Provides a risk analysis for different sectors and an action plan for business and Government. This report focuses on the economic impacts of climate change. It describes Australian business preparedmess as patchy and unco-ordinated. It goes into detail examining specific sectors of: property, electricity, road and rail, water, finance.
Critique: A good assessment of examining the economic risks and preparedness for climate change in Australia
Climate Institute. (2013) Infrastructure Interdependencies and Business-Level Impacts Report.
Summary: This is a report from a workshop on climate change and infrastructure dependencies conducted in December 2012 between the Climate Institute, and accounting forms Mandis Roberts and KPMG. It builds upon and goes into more detail to the Climate Institute report: Coming Ready or Not (2012). It goes into detail in mapping economic dependencies and interconnectivity within and between sectors making them more vulnerable to climate impacts. A key finding was that businesses are largely unprepared for a large and intense heatwave, with broad governance issues and the risk of systemic collapse. Cost impacts on individual business will depend upon specific characteristics and exposure to the risks. Goes into detail with company level scenarios.
Critique: Suggests the development of common methods and tools for interdependency analysis to improve infrastructure resilience, establishment of city business and government taskforces to co-ordinate climate risk management, a national initiative to identify and plan for climate risk impacts for interdependent infrastructure
Coates, L., Katharine Haynes, James O’Brien, John McAneney, Felipe Dimer de Oliveira, (2014) Exploring 167 years of vulnerability: An examination of extreme heat events in Australia 1844–2010. Environmental Science and Policy. Volume 42, October 2014, Pages 33–44
Summary: An historical examination of extreme heat events in Australia. In firmly places the level of mortality from heat related events far above that of any other natural disaster in Australia. This is an important study highlighting the neglect in emergency response planning as compared with other natural disasters such as bushfires or floods. The study concludes: “The dangers from extreme heat within Australia remain neglected, and fundamental changes will not take place until extreme heat is given the priority it deserves as Australia's number one natural hazard killer.”
Coutts, A.M., Jason Beringer, Nigel J. Tapper, 2008: Investigating the climatic impact of urban planning strategies through the use of regional climate modelling: a case study for Melbourne, Australia. International Journal of Climatology. DOI: 10.1002/joc.1680
Summary: Discusses the urban heat island (UHI) in relation to using Melbourne urban planning for improving local climate and human health outcomes and highlights the need for a comprehensive UHI mitigation strategy for Melbourne. The authors used an urban climate model, The Air Pollution Model (TAPM), to simulate the UHI intensity of 3–4 °C at 2 a.m. in January. Results for summer showed increased housing density results in increased intensity of night time UHI with growth areas and activity centres particularly affected. The model was calibrated against observational data from medium density Preston, a residential neighborhood in Melbourne's north. This was used to assess where urban planning should best be applied to mitigate UHI to improve local climates and identified in particular activity centres and growth areas.
Critique: Valuable modelling of UHI in Melbourne, although winter correlation was poor with the authors highlighting that further refinements of the model were required to use as a tool for year round urban climate modelling for urban planning in Melbourne.
Coutts, A.M., Nigel J. Tapper, Jason Beringer, Margaret Loughnan, Matthias Demuzere (2012) Watering our cities: The capacity for Water Sensitive Urban Design to support urban cooling and improve human thermal comfort in the Australian context. Progress in Physical Geography 37(1) 2–28 DOI: 10.1177/0309133312461032
Summary: This study discusses the importance of improved stormwater management, water retention and water sensitive urban design for ameliorating the impact the urban heat island effect (UHI) and heatwaves with climate change in cities and urban areas. Cities have large areas impervious to water resulting in rapid runoff through stormwater drains and channels reducing soil moisture content, but which can also result in flash flooding due to more intense rainfall due to the increased moisture carrying capacity in a warmer atmosphere. This study advocates approaches to retain water in the urban landscape, to lessen demands on the stormwater network, retaining soil moisture and water storage for irrigation to support vegetation that provides cooling through the provision of shading and evapotranspiration. Stormwater is an abundant source of water which can be redirected and utilised for tree and vegetation irrigation for cooling and moderating temperatures. During 2011 in Melbourne 463 GL of stormwater runoff was generated, as compared to 356 GL in potable water imported from Melbourne's water catchment zones. Retaining more water in the urban environment modifies the amount of urban radiation and total surface energy balance, providing an environment more conducive to human thermal comfort. Water sensitive urban design harvests stormwater for irrigation, urban open water and wetland systems to provide water retention and filtration services. With Lake effect, open water can reduce temperatures downwind by 1 to 2C compared to surrounding areas with the effect more pronounced during the day. Park Cool Island (PCI) effect by comparison is more pronounced in reducing nocturnal temperatures. Water retention systems in the Australian environment need to have resilience to cope with both drought and flash flooding. As part of building design, green roofs have the capacity to reduce air temperatures above the roof by several degrees but there are few implementations of this technology currently being utilized in Australia explain the authors. Wet soils in particular can remove or even reverse building heat transfer.
Critique: A thorough review of the peer reviewed literature on stormwater management and water retention in urban environments to enhance thermal comfort and mitigate the effects the urban heat island effect and more frequent and intense heatwaves with climate change. Highlights the importance of smart architectural and landscape design in urban development and redevelopment. Focuses on summer impacts, with more research required in seasonal impacts of Water sensitive urban design.
CSIRO (2012). Ocean renewable energy: 2012-2050.
Summary: Overview of the potential for ocean based renewable energy generation for Australia. Different methods and technologies are assessed. Exploitation of ocean energy was found to be feasible and economic through capturing wave energy and to a lesser extent tidal energy. Non-tidal ocean current, temperature and salinity differential conversion may have potential in the future.
Critique: This is a valuable preliminary assessment of the possible techniques, methods and technologies. Ocean energy is uniquely suited for desalination of water, removing this energy intensive load from onshore power generation.
CSIRO and BOM (2014) State of the Climate Report 2014.
Summary: A detailed summary of current Australian climate trends and future projections with detailed graphs displaying historic climate trends for Australia.
de Munck, C., Pigeon, G., Masson, V., Meunier, F., Bousquet, P., Tréméac, B., Merchat, M., Poeuf, P. and Marchadier, C. 2013. How much can air conditioning increase air temperatures for a city like Paris, France?. International Journal of Climatology, 33: 210–227. DOI: 10.1002/joc.3415
Summary: Air-conditioning is one of the personal climate adaptations that many people make to living with extreme heat in cities suffering rising temperatures and amplified by the urban heat island (UHI) effect. This study assesses the contribution of air conditioning to air temperatures in the city of Paris using a coupled mesoscale meteorological model and an urban energy balance model. Four scenarios were examined testing different levels of air conditioning. Comparing all 4 scenarios with the baseline showed a systematic increase in air temperatures, with a greater impact at night. The authors explain the resulting effect on average city temperatures: 'The increase in temperature was 0.5 ° C in the situation with current heat releases, 1 ° C with current releases converted to only sensible heat, and 2 ° C for the future doubling of air conditioning waste heat released to air.'
Critique: This study builds and develops on previous research on the contribution of air conditioning to localised temperatures and the urban heat island effect in Taipei and Tokyo. Air conditioning adds substantially to energy usage placing more demands on our energy grid, while also setting up a vicious cycle of temperature increase due to Air conditioning use leading to further demand for air cooling. Increased use of air conditioning has implications for the electricity grid energy demand which also suffers reductions in efficiency during extreme periods of heat. Excessive demand may result in loss of power for thousands of people with cascading systemic effects.
Department of Human Services, (2009), January 2009 Heatwave in Victoria: an Assessment of Health Impacts, Victorian Government www.health.vic.gov.au
Summary: Thorough Examination of the population health impact of the 2009 extreme heatwave across Victoria where temperatures soared with maximum temperatures 12-15C above normal for 5 days from 27-31 January. Melbourne experienced 3 days above 43C. There was substantial morbidity and mortality related to the heatwave with 374 excess deaths, more than were killed in the Black Saturday bushfires one week later in a following heatwave. The Victorian Government had instituted a basic heat alert system for Melbourne which may have prevented a greater number of deaths. Highlights the need for greater State and local government heatwave response planning.
Critique: Focussed on analysis of population health impacts of one heatwave event. Draws upon a variety of sources including Ambulance Victoria, various GP and emergency datasets, deaths reported bt State Coroner's Office and the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. The report says it cannot distinguish in this event between advancement of mortality or additional mortality.
Dunne John P., Ronald J. Stouffer, & Jasmin G. John. 2013. Reductions in labour capacity from heat stress under climate warming. Nature Climate Change doi:10.1038/nclimate1827
Summary: This US-based study looks at the increasing economic costs of reduced work capacity due to heat stress. According to their modelling projections they estimated that reduced work capacity due to heat stress is likely to double to 20 per cent by 2050. Out to 2200 they estimated "labour capacity reduction to less than 40% by 2200 in peak months, with most tropical and mid-latitudes experiencing extreme climatological heat stress."
Critique: Important study on the economic labour cost of increasing temperatures due to climate change. See my February 2013 review article: Climate change to increase heat stress, reduce work capacity
Englart, John (2011) Engineering Professor: Install solar panels to combat Global Warming rather than paint roofs white. (October 2011) Climate Citizen blog, viewed 6 June 2014
Summary: news article and review of the consequences of changing albedo on a city scale.
Englart, John. (2013a) Winter Chill: Fruit and nut trees feeling the heat of global warming. (14 April 2013), Climate Citizen blog, viewed 23 March 2014
Summary: An article on the impact of warming winter temperatures on pome and nut crops which require a certain amount of winter chill to produce tgood quantities of fruit.
Englart, John. (2013b) Solar PV Panel installations in Fawkner exceed 5 per cent of dwellings. (12 December 2013) Sustainable Fawkner website. Viewed 22 March 2014
Summary: Analysis of the penetration of solar PV installations in the Moreland suburb of Fawkner.
Englart, John (2014) Mass bat deaths in record setting Queensland heatwave. (7 January 2014) Climate Citizen blog, viewed 6 June 2014
Summary: News article about the mass bat deaths of grey headed flying foxes during Queensland heatwave. Highlights threshold temperatures were exceeded for these bats at 41-42C.
Englart, John. (2014a) Climate Geo-engineering study on sulphate injection shows Hydrological disruption to rain and severe drought. (11 January 2014) Climate Citizen blog, viewed 23 March 2014
Summary: Article discussing the benefits of geo-engineering and possible unintended impacts on regional and global hydrology.
Englart, John. (2014b) Moreland Council calling for greater heatwave emergency planning for Victoria. (14 February 2014) Climate Citizen blog, viewed 23 March 2014
Summary: News and analysis on Moreland Council resolution for greater heatwave emergency planning.
Englart, John. (2014c) Climate Change Authority recommended Emissions reduction targets. (2 March 2014) Climate Citizen blog, viewed 23 March 2014
Summary: News article discussing the Climate Change Authority recommendations for lifting Australian emission reduction target to 19 percent to keep pace with action on a global level.
Englart, John (2014d) Victorian Premier warns 100,000 premises may lose power in extreme heatwave. Climate Citizen blog, viewed 6 June 2014.
Summary: News article highlights the fragility of our power infrastructure during heatwaves and the importance for diversification of generating capacity such as the expansion of solar PV.
Englart, John (2014e) Moreland increasing tree canopy to combat urban heat island effect. Climate Action Moreland blog, 12 September 2014. viewed 9 February 2015.
Summary: News article on decision to implement Moreland Council tree canopy policy. To address mitigate temperatures and address the urban heat island effect.
Englart, John (2014f) Moreland Council plan to cut community emissions 22 per cent by 2020. Climate Action Moreland blog, 5 October 2014. viewed 9 February 2015.
Summary: News article on launch of City of Moreland Council Zero Carbon Moreland strategy and plan to cut community emissions by 22 per cent by 2020.
Englart, John (2015) Heatwaves and Victoria's Heat Health Alert Warning System. Climate Action Moreland blog, viewed 9 February 2015.
Summary: an article about the Victorian heat health alert system and the threshold temperatures it uses and the threshold temperatures recommended from relevant scientific studies on heat related mortality and morbidity. Also details that the state emergency manual does not provide any instructions for management of heatwaves.
Georgescu, M., A. Mahalov and M Moustau (2012) Seasonal hydroclimatic impacts of Sun Corridor Expansion. Environ. Res. Lett. 7 034026 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/3/034026
Summary: This study looked at the impact of cool roofs had both on local temperatures and regional precipitation. The study found there were tradeoff impacts. “impacts on the hydrologic cycle are aggravated via enhanced evapotranspiration reduction, leading to a 4% total accumulated precipitation decrease relative to the non-adaptive maximum expansion scenario. Our results highlight potentially unintended consequences of this adaptation approach within rapidly expanding megapolitan areas, and emphasize the need for undeniably sustainable development paths that account for hydrologic impacts in addition to continued focus on mean temperature effects.”
Georgescu, M., Philip E. Morefield, Britta G. Bierwagen, and Christopher P. Weaver (2014) Urban adaptation can roll back warming of emerging megapolitan regions. PNAS February 25, 2014, 111(8), 2909-2914
Summary: An important modelling study for methods of ameliorating some of the urban heat island effect through a range of adaptive approaches including Cool roofs, Green Roofs and green-albedo roofs. Each of these adaptations have strengths and weaknesses. Changes to regional hydro-climate when these adaptive strategies are implemented are also considered. The results of the study show that there are trade-offs to be made with geographically appropriate strategies needed rather than a one size fits all solution.
Critique: Although the study focusses on US regional and urban climate adaptation research, it has broader global implications for urban resilience and adaptation to rising temperatures and climate change.
Green, H., John Gilbert, Ross James, Roger Byard. (2001) An analysis of factors contributing to a series of deaths caused by exposure to high environmental temperatures. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2001 Jun;22(2):196-9.
Summary: Examines 9 Australian autopsy case studies where high environmental temperatures contributed to cause of death. Explains that heat-related death is often difficult to identify just through autopsy diagnosis. One of the factors to predispose to hyperthermia is obesity due to the increase in mass to surface area ratio reduces body heat loss. Three of the cases examined demonstrated mild to severe obesity.
Grunstein, Ron. 2013. Too hot to sleep? Here’s why. The Conversation (8 January 2013) Viewed 23 March 2014.
Summary: Explains how rising nocturnal temperatures can interfere with body thermo-regulation leading to heat stress.
Hall, G.V., Rennie M D'Souza and Martyn D Kirk (2002) Foodborne disease in the new millennium: out of the frying pan and into the fire? Med J Aust 2002; 177 (11): 614-618.
Summary: As temperatures rise foodborne disease transmission becomes more prevalent due to the rise in ambient temperatures, especially for Salmonella and Campylobacter which respond strongly to seasonal patterns of elevated temperatures. More awareness of the importance of food safety and food handling in hot weather can reduce the risk.
Hansen, A., P. Bi, M. Nitschke, P. Ryan, D. Pisaniello, G. Tucker, 2008: The effect of heat waves on mental health in a temperate Australian city. Environmental Health Perspectives, 116(10), 1369-1375.
Summary: The study examined the impact of heatwaves and hot spells on mental, behavioural, and cognitive disorders that may predispose individuals with these afflictions to higher rates of heat-related morbidity and mortality. Data was gathered from Adelaide hospitals from 1993 to 2006. According to the results of the study, above a mean temperature threshold of 26.7°C there is an increase in hospital admissions for mental and behavioural disorders of about 7.3 per cent. Mortality rates increased for persons with mental and behavioural disorders in the 65 to 74 age group and for persons with schizophrenia, schizotypal, and delusional disorders. Up to the age of 65 dementia deaths also increased. People on psychiatric medication are at particular risk as many medications used in this health area increase vulnerability to heat related morbidity by altering the body's thermoregulation regime. The researchers conclude that elevated temperatures exacerbate many psychiatric conditions producing a salient health risk to people suffering mental and behavioural disorders. They propose that clinical and professional management and care should take this into account to avoid a rise in psychiatric morbidity and mortality as heatwaves become more frequent and intense with climate change. Heatwave response plans and heat alerts are already being implemented as part of general climate adaptation, however people suffering mental illness may be less likely to adapt due to physiologic and behavioural reasons.
Critique: Provides an excellent analysis of the vulnerability of people with mental disorders to heatwaves and their increased risk of morbidity and mortality. The study has relevance for Australia and globally. Mental health disorders are estimated at 13 per cent of Australia's national disease burden with up to 1 in 5 Australians directly experiencing a mental health issue. Adelaide experiences frequent and intense summer heatwaves providing an excellent urban example to highlight the issue.
Herring, S. C., M. P. Hoerling, T. C. Peterson, and P. A. Stott, Eds., 2014: Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 from a Climate Perspective. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 95 (9), S1–S96.
Summary: Five seperate studies in the Special Supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society on Extreme weather events for 2013 that dealt with the contribution of climate change to Australia's record heat in 2013.
Hsieh C-M, Aramaki T, Hanaki K. 2007. The feedback of heat rejection to air conditioning load during the nighttime in subtropical climate. Energy and Building 39: 1175–1182.
Summary: Investigated the impact of air conditioning on nocturnal temperatures in Taipei. It found that an urban area with lots of window air conditioners increases the outside nocturnal air temperature and adds to the cooling load. “The feedback (penalty) of heat rejection to cooling load was found 10.7% during 19:01 to 02:00 h on the following day.”
Huang, C., Adrian Gerard Barnett, Xiaoming Wang, Pavla Vaneckova, Gerard FitzGerald, Shilu Tong (2011) Projecting Future Heat-Related Mortality under Climate Change Scenarios: A Systematic Review. Environmental Health Perspectives 119 (12) pp 1681-1690
Summary: This is a comprehensive review of the peer reviewed literature on projected heat related mortality under different climate change scenarios. The authors identified 14 studies that met their search criteria. In general all these studies showed that climate change would result in a substantial increase in heat related mortality over the next cemtury. A few studies identified there may also be a significant drop in cold related mortality but most studies assessed heat related mortality will be much greater than any offsets from cold related deaths. Most studies did not assess demographic changes of an aging population which is likely to underestimate the results for heat related mortality. As each study reviewed uses different temperature measurement, baseline dates, climate models, different mitigation scenarios, as well as social, economic and demographic characteristics, they are not able to be directly compared. Mortality risk will change due to the aging population, rate of acclimatization, changes in socio-economic status and adaptation strategies that are put into place such as heatwave emergency response and urban heat adaptation strategies.
Critique: The authors raise the issue of to what extent heat-related mortality is short term displacement or additional deaths. If a large proportion of deaths are in people already expecting to die in the near future, then the overall heat related risk would be reduced. No suggestion is made on this, except to say that more research is required for an accurate estime of years of life lost due to high temperatures, severity and length of heat events. A very thorough review that identifies areas of new research on climate change and heat related mortality.
Huang C., Barnett A.G., Xu Z., Chu C., Wang X., Turner L.R. and Tong S. (2013) Managing the health effects of temperature in response to climate change: challenges ahead. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2013 Apr;121(4):415-9. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1206025.
Summary: Investigated how public health organisations should implement heat health adaptation strategies. Suggested strategies include: reducing heat exposure, access to cooling, building design, urban planning, managing the health risks, early warning systems, health care system preparedness, and awareness and education. Includes a case study from Brisbane, and a health economic evaluation.
Critique: Good overview of heat health adaptation strategies for public health
Hughes, L and Will Steffen. (2013) Be Prepared: Climate Change and the Australian Bushfire Threat. Climate Council report
Summary: Comprehensive Literature review of the impact of climate change on the threat of bushfires in Australia. Key findings include that climate change is already increasing the risk of bushfires, with the fire season in south east Australia becoming longer with less opportunity for hazard reduction burning. It is very likely Australia will experience an increase in the number of extreme and catastrophic fire days. It is crucial that communities prepare for increase in frequency and severety of bushfires.
Critique: Great place to start reading on the link between bushfires and climate change in Australia..
Human services Victoria (1997) Surveillance of Notifiable Diseases in Victoria 1997. Disease Control Section, Public Health and Development Division of the Victorian Government Department of Human Services. ISBN 1037-1532
Summary: Attributes record summer temperatures as possibly being a factor in record salmonellosis outbreak during or shortly after record hot weather in Melbourne.
Hyatt, O.M., Bruno Lemke and Tord Kjellstrom (2010) Regional maps of occupational heat exposure: past, present, and potential future . Global Health Action 2010, 3: 5715 - DOI: 10.3402/gha.v3i0.5715
Summary: Maps occupational heat exposure using WBGT (wet bulb) temperatures for hot regions of the globe: Australia, South Asia, Southern Africa, Central America, and southern US between 1975, 2000 and 2000 plus 3C degrees.
Critique: This has implications for human health, work and productivity during summer months as WBGET approaches the threshold temperature for human (and in fact mammalian) physiological health.
Jacobson, M.Z., John E. Ten Hoeve (2012) Effects of Urban Surfaces and White Roofs on Global and Regional Climate. Journal of Climate, 25 (3), p1028-1044
Summary: The study modeled the geo-engineering theory of painting urban roofs and other surfaces white to increase the albedo or reflectivity to moderate local and global temperatures. This has been postulated widely as a temporary solution to combating global temperature increase, including by USA Energy Secretary Chu. Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory lead by Hashem Akbari put forward the proposal initially in September 2008 of White Roofs Cooling the World, Offsetting CO2, and Delaying Global Warming. Jacobson and Ten Hoeve contend in their study that the Akbari study "did not use a global model to simulate whether the conversion caused a net cooling or warming of global climate." According to the white roof simulation results in the Jacobson study, model results "show that conversion to white roofs cooled population weighted ground and air temperatures over the simulation. However, feedbacks of the local changes to the large scale resulted in a gross global warming, but smaller in magnitude than the UHI. Whereas, the population-weighted air temperature decrease due to white roofs was ~0.02 K, the global temperature increase was ~0.07 K."
Critique: Highlights that geo-engineering solutions can have unintended consequences. In this case, reducing micro-climate temperatures may raise regional or average global temperatures.
Keating, A. and Handmer J. (2013) Future potential losses from extremes under climate change: the case of Victoria, Australia. VCCCAR Project: Framing Adaptation in the Victorian Context, Working Paper Victorian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation Research, Melbourne.
Summary: Estimates the costs of climate impacts for Victoria and the likely cost of adaptation strategies under various climate scenarios. Highlights issues pertinent to cost-benefit analysis of climate change adaptation in Victoria. Includes cost estimates for future heatwave mortality in Melbourne for 2020 and 2050.
Critique: First pass lower bound estimate of costs for heatwave related deaths for Melbourne.
Kendal, D. (2011) Potential effects of climate change on Melbourne’s street trees and some
implications for human and non-human animals . State of Australian Cities Report 2011.
Summary: Melbourne may have up to a million street trees which provide a host of ecosystem services including shade, carbon storage, water and pollution filtering and habitats for a variety of native and invasive species. This study explores how Melbourne's street trees may change inder current climate scenarios, particularly rising temperature, and the impacts on humans and other species. About 60% of trees are native to Australia, but with a higher proportion of introduced deciduous species like the London Plane tree, American Elm and Norway Maple in the City of Melbourne and more native eucalypt and Callistemon in council areas on the urban fringe. Eleven taxa, all deciduous, were identified as at risk in a warmer climate. Melbourne has been characterised as a European city with its broad leafed deciduous trees, but this social sense of place may need to change as these vegetation types are phased out and replaced by warmer climate native and exotic species. Increased native species may bring more Grey headed flying foxes, rainbow lorikeets and other native bird species, increasing the functional diversity. The shift may favour nectivorous birds over insectivourous birds which tend to favour the European exotics. After the 2009 heatwave and Millenium drought where many exotic street trees experienced severe stress, council's started to review and consider their street tree planting program. Changing the composition of the urban forest will impact the vegetation amelioration of the urban heat island to some extent. The impact will be felt differently from suburb to suburb.
Kjellstrom, T., R. Sari Kovats, Simon J. Lloyd, Tom Holt, Richard S.J. Tol (2009) The Direct Impact of Climate Change on Regional Labor Productivity. Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health, 64 (4) 217-227
Summary: Labor productivity will also be affected as temperatures increase globally with climate change. It is projected that in most regions climate change will decrease labour productivity. The reductions in productivity may range from 11 to 27 per cent under some scenarios across the tropics and sub-tropical regions. While some climate adaptation measures may be available in developed countries, especially for inside work, many developing countries may face greater changes to work productivity. Reducations in productivity may result from workers reducing work intensity or taking more short breaks or through occupational health interventions. International occupational health and safety standards have been set which stipulates that for unacclimatized people doing heavy intense work, work intensity should decrease above 22.5C wet bulb (WBGT) temperature and at 26C (WBGT) for acclimatized persons. The authors discuss possible gains from reduction in cold temperatures but with the numbers affected being minimal and the more easy adaptation with warm clothes, productivity gains are likely to be very small and not match the greater loss in labor productivity from heatwaves and hot spells.
Critique: the paper does not quantify the possible cost to global or regional GDP of loss of labour productivity. It does contain tables showing how different regions will be affected and impacted.
Kjellstrom T., and A.J. McMichael (2013) Climate change threats to population health and well-being: the imperative of protective solutions that will last. Global Health Action. 2013 Apr 3;6:20816. doi: 10.3402/gha.v6i0.20816.
Summary: Discusses the threats to human health from climate change and the necessity for mitigation and adaptation strategies. Includes outlining the health co-benefits of climate mitigation and briefly the economic costs of impacts on human health and well being and benefits from prevention.
Critique: General article, not specific to Melbourne.
Laaidi, K., Abdelkrim Zeghnoun, Bénédicte Dousset, Philippe Bretin, Stéphanie Vandentorren, Emmanuel Giraudet, Pascal Beaudeau (2011) The Impact of Heat Islands on Mortality in Paris during the August 2003 Heat Wave. Environ Health Perspect 120:254-259 (2012). http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1103532 [online 01 September 2011] http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1103532/
Summary: Highlighted the role of high nocturnal temperatures and the duration of heat using satellite remote sensing of surface temperatures during the August 2003 Paris heatwave. This temperature data was then compared to demographic data from the heatwave for central Paris and two suburbs with more vegetation. In comparing mortality and morbidity between high density urban area and suburban areas with vegetation the researchers found that the small 1 to 2 degree difference made by the urban heat island doubled the mortality rate among the elderly in high density urban living. This study highlighted the need for urban planners and governments to mitigate the urban heat island with more trees and parks in high density urban areas, and other mechanisms such as cool pavements and cool or green roofs to change the surface albedo. It also provides a method for public health practitioners to identifying hot spots in the future to target those more vulnerable.
Levine, K. (2011) Cool Pavements Research and Technology, Institute of Transportation Studies Library at UC Berkeley
Summary: Excellent explanation of mitigating UHI through cool pavements through changing permeability and reflectance. It outlines that there have been few case studies examining cool pavements outside the laboratory, but provide a list of research articles and abstracts on improving mix design and pavement systems to mitigate UHI.
Lewis, S.C., David J. Karoly (2013) Anthropogenic contributions to Australia’s record summer temperatures of 2013. Geophysical Research Letters, VOL. 40, 3705–3709, doi:10.1002/grl.50673
Summary: This is a fraction of attributable risk (FAR) study of Australia's record summer temperatures from December 2012 to February 2013. The study modelled temperatures over the summer comparing just natural forcings with model runs with greenhouse forcings. 'There was at least a 2.5 times increase in the odds of extreme heat due to human influences using simulations to 2005, and a fivefold increase in this risk using simulations for 2006–2020.' said Lewis and Karoly. Many temperature records from the daily to the seasonal timescale, and from single sites to continental averages were broken. The authors articulated that natural climate variations could not explain the record summer temperatures. Even more extraordinary, these temperatures were achieved in a neutral ENSO year, when high temperatures are usually recorded in El Nino years. The authors affirm a clear conclusion from the study that anthropogenic climate change had a substantial influence on the extreme summer heat conditions. Looking beyond 2020 the authors warn that there is likely to be a high probabability of increase in extreme summer heat under the business as usual (BAU) scenario and also point to a lengthening of the occurrence of extreme heat conditions into spring and autumn.
Critique. The increase in temperatures and lengthening of summer extreme heat has major implications for the bushfire index and intensity, frequency and lengthening of the bushfire season. This study was highlighted in a recent report on climate trends of 2013 issued by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
Lewis, S. C., and D. J. Karoly (2014) The Conversation, 6 January 2014 - Australia’s hottest year was no freak event: humans caused it
Summary: Early analysis by Karoly and Lewis indicating that climate change was a primary and major factor in 2013 being Australia's hottest year on record.
Li, D., Elie Bou-Zeid (2013) Synergistic Interactions between Urban Heat Islands and Heat Waves: the Impact in Cities is Larger than the Sum of its Parts. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology Vol 52, pp 2051-2064, doi: 10.1175/JAMC-D-13-02.1
Summary: An interesting study that examines the interaction between heatwaves and the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. Using both observational and modelling data the authors argue that not only do heatwaves increase ambient temperatures but an intensification and amplification provcess ocurrs in the interaction between heatwaves and the urban heat island effect. It is not a simple addition of two effects, but an amplification that ocurrs boosting urban temperatures. The authors attribute this process to the lack of surface moisture in urban areas and the low wind speed associated with high pressure systems that usually accompany heatwaves. This poses a major health and mortality risk for urban populations and increases the projected risk of heatwaves with climate change in the future.
Critique: The risk associated with cascading infrastructure failure due to stress on electricity grids is briefly raised in the conclusion, which would result in loss of air conditioning, one of the major personal ways to adapt to extreme heat conditions. Other urban adaptive responses such as increasing the urban forest vegetation canopy, green roofs, reflective pavements and water retention and water sensitive urban design may prove of more substantial benefit in reducing the urban heat island effect and the synergy with heatwaves.
Loughnan, ME, Tapper, NJ, Phan, T, Lynch, K, McInnes, JA 2013, A spatial vulnerability analysis of urban populations during extreme heat events in Australian capital cities, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast, 128 pp.
Summary: An important study undertaken by researchers from the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility and Monash University that formulated a heat vulnerability index and spatially mapped heat vulnerability for all Australian capital cities to the postcode level. The authors identified threshold temperatures for each capital city for mortality and morbidity.
Critique: A very thorough and informative study. This mapping will aid urban planning in adaptation response and emergency services in emergency response planning. Visual overlay mapping using Google maps and the establishment of a website makes this study useful for casual interest as well as those involved in emergency response and climate adaptation planning.
Loughnan, M. E., Neville Nicholls, Nigel J. Tapper, 2010: The effects of summer temperature, age and socioeconomic circumstance on Acute Myocardial Infarction admissions in Melbourne, Australia. International Journal of Health Geographics 2010, 9:41
Summary: This study of hospital cardiac (AMI) admissions data for five years from 1999 to 2004 identified cardiac-specific climate thresholds and the spatial and demographic characteristics of vulnerable groups within Melbourne's population. The data demonstrated that both age and socioeconomic circumstances were important factors determining AMI admissions during hot weather. Response was examined both for single hot days where the temperature average for a 24 hour period exceeded 30°C threshold, and 3 day heatwaves where the 3-day average temperature threshold of 27°C was exceeded. The study argues that including socio=demographic and spatial data provides a 'more holistic picture of public health vulnerability to hot weather'. Higher rates of AMI occurr in the northern and southern suburbs during both single and 3-day events. In the eastern suburbs the AMI rate increases with the duration of the heat event, which the researchers suggest indicates the population has a lower vulnerability during single hot daysm but with risk increasing as heat persists for multiple days.
Critique: This information and research on AMI admissions is important for assessing and indicating a wider social vulnerabilty with hot days and heatwaves, especially as climate change is projected to intensify and lengthen these events. It provides useful projections for the health sector to anticipate and implement heatwave response plans to ensure staff and facilities are available. It also identifies at risk groups by both age and socioeconomic status so that general heatwave response can be more accurately targeted as part of urban adaptation measures to hot weather events and heatwaves.
Luck, G.W., Lisa T. Smallbone, Rachel O’Brien (2009) Socio-Economics and Vegetation Change in Urban Ecosystems: Patterns in Space and Time, Ecosystems 12: 604–620 DOI: 10.1007/s10021-009-9244-6
Summary: This study, conducted over 20 years across regional towns in NSW and Victoria, highlights the importance of socio-economic factors in urban vegetation over time as neighborhoods get more established. Housing density, income, education and immigrant status all influence vegetation cover as neighborhoods develop over time. The study found that the best predictor of canopy extent after a lag time was education level. The authors point out that they do not answer whether better educated people increase vegetation cover or are attracted to areas with more vegetation in the first place. The research suggests public funding and local government policy may also play an important role in vegetation trends over time on a town wide scale, particularly in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Critique: Analysis of the link between socio-economic status and vegatation cover is important which should drive public funding for expanded vegetation cover in urban planning of disadvantaged neighborhoods where the UHI may be most prominent.
McEvoy, D., Iftekhar Ahmed, Jane Mullett (2012) The impact of the 2009 heatwave on Melbourne’s critical infrastructure. Local Environment 17(8), 783-796
Summary: Examines the impact and vulnerability of the 2009 Melbourne heatwave on infrastructure and discusses actual and potential adaptation responses during the event. The research involved a comprehensive review of the substantial body of grey literature on this issue and a series of semi-structured interviews with key professionals, policy experts and academics involving a total of 34 organisations. The 2009 heatwave was a record breaking event in two phases that pushed the resilience of Melbourne's urban infrastructure to it's limits, particularly electricity and rail public transport. Impacts were most severely felt in the electricity generation and distribution, while rail and road transport infrastructure was moderately affected, with gas, communications, airport and seaport being minimally impacted if at all. The authors highlight the risk of cascading and systemic failure as seen when elements of the electricity network failed causing knockon effects in other unrelated areas. Five main issues are identified: the most prominent one being cascading effects which could have a substantial impact on both economic activity and community well being. While many stakeholders assessed that risks were contained with adequate precautions, the authors suggest sectoral segmentation ocurred in which mangers were addressing the issues directly under their control with noone encompassing or managing the risk to the integrated urban system and the very real possibility of cascading systems failure. The authors emphasise the lack of a whole systems approach to managing urban infrastructure is a major hindrance and barrier to urban resilience. Secondly, the practice of looking to the past when managing infrastructure fails to take adequate account of the projections of climate change. Thirdly, there is a focus on addressing single stressors largely ignoring likely cumulative impacts of multiple climate and environment related stressors, as for example focusing on heatwave impacts when drought and bushfire can and do contribute to infrastructure stress at the same time. The policy debate over climate mitigation is a fourth point raised that has reduced certainty in business investment resulting in a lack of investment in improving resilience in the electricity sector. The fifth and final issue resolves around demarcation of roles and responsibilities between different levels of government and private industry and legal liability in delivery and maintenaince of essential services.
Critique: While the impacts of heatwaves on health and mortality have substantial peer reviewed research, articles assessing the impacts on infrastructure are few and highlight the importance of a systemic approach to climate change and it's impact on the urban environment. Few people realize how close we were to cascading system failure in the 2009 heatwave. A longer heatwave with a greater cumulative impact, which we are likely to see in the future perhaps even with the next Super El Nino 5that may be building in the later part of 2014, may produce a devestating systemic collapse and disruption, unless we build resilience into managing and maintaining urban infrastructure systems.
Moore, G.M. (2013) Valuing and Maintaining the Urban Forest. University of Melbourne.
Summary: Under climate change, urban forests are likely to be impacted by increased temperatures, changes to rainfall patterns, greater storm intensities and droughts. Urban trees provide a suite of environmental and climatic services, moderating the urban heat island effect. They can cool a building by up to 8C reducing the need for air conditioners and peak energy use. Some of the benefits provided include: Absorpton of water reduces flood risk; reduces air conditioning use saving on energy; reduce storm winds reducing damage to roofs; stabilise soil, remove airborne pollutants and humidify air reducing hayfever and asthma; general human health benefits improving the quality and longevity of life; encourage both active and passive recreation lowering health costs; offset carbon emissions; increases urban biodiversity; shade lowers water evaporation; tendency for lower rates of vandalism and graffiti. Substantial economic savings are made through these multiple services. One study of the economic worth of a street tree in Adelaide conservatively estimated its economic benefit to be $200 per year as against the cost of maintenance of $20 per year, a 10 fold economic benefit.
NCCARF and Monash University. 2013. Mapping Heatwave Vulnerability. Viewed 2 March 2014.
Summary: Website that maps social vulnerability to heatwaves for Australian cities, with data down to postcode level.
Nguyen, M., Xiaoming Wang and Dong Chen (2010), An Investigation of Extreme Heatwave Events and Their Effects on Building & Infrastructure, CSIRO National Flagships Climate Adaptation
Summary: Extreme heatwave events and how they effect building and infrastructure performance. After a detailed explanation of the increase in temperature trend both in single day and hot spell events, particularly for Melbourne, the report outlines the Effects of Hot Spells on Cooling Energy Requirement and the relationship of building thermal performance and length of the hot spell. Effects of insulation on building thermal performance is assessed. Temperature also affects electricity supply and transmission with power loss estimated to increase 0.4% as the temperature increases every 1°C. Mechanical thermal stress and buckling in steel structures such as railway lines is also discussed.
Critique: Wealth of data and analysis indicating we need better thermal insulation, and better design of infrastructure to cope with range and increase in temperatures and length of heat events.
Nicholls, N. (2010) Local and remote causes of the southern Australian autumn-winter rainfall decline, 1958–2007 . Climate Dynamics 34:835–845 DOI 10.1007/s00382-009-0527-6
Summary: A seminal study on causes for the reduction in southern Australian autumn and winter rain decline in the later part of the 20th century. This is related to changes in the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) with influence of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) being excluded.
Nicholls, N., Carol Skinner, Margaret Loughnan, Nigel Tapper, 2007: A simple heat alert system for Melbourne, Australia. International Journal of Biometeorology, DOI 10.1007/s00484-007-0132-5
Summary: Developed a mechanism of a simple heat alert system for Melbourne whereby when the MEAN daily temperature is likely to exceed 30 degrees Celsius, average daily mortality of people aged 65 years or more is about 15–17% greater than usual. The authors also investigated whether this was due to short term advancement of mortality or additional mortality and concluded it was largely additional deaths.
Critique: This provided a simple heat alert system used by public health authorities that was adopted in Victoria just in time for the 2009 extreme heatwaves and continues. It does not require a heatwave to trigger just a single day and night where the mean is forecast to exceed 30C. Reviews previews studies on heat related mortality.
Nowak, D.J. and John F. Dwyer (2007), Chapter 2 – Understanding the Benefits and costs of urban forest Ecosystems, from Urban and Community Forestry in the Northeast, 2nd ed., edited by, J. E. Kuser. ISBN 978-1-4020-4289-8
Summary: Weighs up the costs and benefits of increasing forest vegetation in the urban environment. Urban forestry can increase carbon sequestration, reduce rainfall runoff, reduce local temperatures and the micro-climate, absorb pollution, reduce urban noise, reduce building energy use, increase urban wildlife and biodiversity The cost of maintenance, emission of some organic volatile compounds needs to be weighed up against the benefits. Provides individual and community benefits, increase in real estate value.
Critique: A valuable USA based introduction into the costs and benefits of urban forestry. Only deals with possible increase in pest problems, and increased risk of fire, in passing at the end.
Ohashi Y, Genshi Y, Kondo H, Kikegawa Y, Yoshikado H, Hirano Y. (2007) Influence of air-conditioning waste heat on air temperature in Tokyo during summer: numerical experiments using an urban canopy model coupled with a building energy model. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 46: 66–81.
Summary: A seminal paper examining the impact of air conditioning and the urban heat island effect in summer months in Tokyo, Japan. “The waste heat from the air conditioners has caused a temperature rise of 1°–2°C or more on weekdays in the Tokyo office areas. This heating promotes the heat-island phenomenon in Tokyo on weekdays. Thus, it is shown that the energy consumption process (mainly with air conditioning) in buildings should be included in the modeling of summertime air temperature on weekdays in urban areas.
Critique: Air conditioning as a mal-adaptation and feedback for the urban heat island effect.
Perkins, S.E., L.V. Alexander (2013) On the Measurement of Heat Waves. Journal of Climate Vol 26 pp4500-4517 DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00383.1
Summary: Historically the heatwave term has not been consistently and unambiguously applied. Perkins and Alexander set out a scientific definition encompassing 'three or more consecutive days above one of the following: the 90th percentile for maximum temperature, the 90th percentile for minimum temperature, and positive extreme heat factor (EHF) conditions.' By this definition heatwaves can occurr in any season. Although this definition was developed for Australian conditions, the methodology that may widely applicable globally. Each heatwave definition includes five aspects calculated on a yearly basis: yearly number of heatwaves, length of the longest yearly event, yearly sum of participating heat wave days, the hottest day of the hottest yearly event, and the average magnitude of all yearly heatwaves. Across all these definitions using Australia as the case study significant trends were indicated in yearly sum of participating heat wave days and yearly number of heat waves, with the number of available heat wave days driving the length of heat wave events. Some regions of Australia, such as the tropical north show little change in heatwave length or frequency. An appendix provides a number of indices which were assessed as unsuitable for consistent measurement of heatwaves.
Critiques: This study provides an accurate and scientifically consistent methodology for heatwave measurement for Australia and possibly other locations. The study methodology provided the framework for then interpreting historical temperature data to map heatwaves both spatially and historically across Australia. Historical data for Melbourne using this definition of 3 or more days of excessive heat indicates that in 2013 heatwaves ocurred in February, March, May, June, July, August, and September according to the website developed by Dr Sarah Perkins at http://www.scorcher.org.au
Poumadere, M. Claire Mays, Sophie Le Mer, Russell Blong (2005) The 2003 Heat Wave in France: Dangerous Climate Change Here and Now. Risk Analysis, Vol. 25, No. 6, 2005 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2005.00694.x/abstract
Summary: Summarises the 2003 Heatwave in France event and the response afterwards. The article analyzes the event as a strong attenuated risk in a French context, and it's amplification after the event. Describes the unusual weather conditions, impact on mortality, socio-economic vulnerability. After the event saw a major shift, with a rapid introduction of a heat wave risk policy including a heat alert system, telephone register for vulnerable people, cool refuges, and increased funding for the hospital system for emergency response.
Critique: This underscores that heatwaves have been traditionally an under-related risk to mortality in industrialised societies like France and Australia, despite data that indicates it is the number one natural hazard to mortality.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers, (November 2011), Protecting human health and safety during severe and extreme heat events. A national framework. Report for Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy and Efficiency
Summary: A well written and presented report by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Australian Government on the issue of extreme heat events. Makes the case for action clear, details impacts and estimates costs of damage and adapatation. Recomended establishment of a national framework for severe and extreme heat events. Advocated development of an Australian heat event strategy, under the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience.
Critique: Well presented report, with case studies, numerous tables and charts.
Qi, X. (2013) Assessment of socio-environmental drivers of suicide in Australia. (PhD thesis) School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology
Summary: A doctoral thesis which argues that heatwaves also correlate with an increase in urban suicide rates in Australian cities. Temperature difference showed a positive association with suicide in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart. Temperature and unemployment were significant in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The study identifies that research in Britain and Europe shows that this link is inconclusive on a global level.
Rauland, Vanessa. 2013. Decarbonising cities: certifying carbon reduction in urban development (PhD thesis) Curtin University, Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute
Summary: At the heart of this study is the argument that while cities are a problem in generating carbon emissions, they can also be an important part of the solution through zero or low carbon urban development and planning. Carbon certification in urban planning and urban development may also increase best practice for reducing carbon intensity in construction practices and provide better integration of walking, cycling and public transport infrastructure for a more sustainable living and working environment.
Raymond, M. (2010), Hot and Homeless in Melbourne, Health Issues Summer 2009 issue 101.
Summary: Account of the situation facing homeless people in Melbourne's extreme heatwave of 2009. A segment of the population already with high vuulnerability and health problems made much worse through discriminatory behaviour when seeking respite. Often kicked out of air-conditioned public buildings and fast food restaurants as unwelcome, reduced access to public cool water, with overcrowding in under resourced homeless shelters.
Crtique: Highlights a major social issue during extreme heat events that state and local government needs to address with regard to emergency cool places for respite and social support to the homeless.
Reeves, J., Colleen Foelz, Peter Grace, Peter Best, Torben Marcussen, Shahbaz Mushtaq, Roger Stone, Margaret Loughnan, Darryn McEvoy, Ifte Ahmed, Jane Mullett, Katharine Haynes, Deanne Bird, Lucinda Coates, Megan Ling, (2010), Impacts and adaptation response of infrastructure and communities to heatwaves: the southern Australian experience of 2009, NCCARF – National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.
Summary: Assesses the impact of the 2009 heatwave event particularly as it affected Melbourne and Adelaide across two phases, the second including the February 7 Black Saturday bushfires. It describes that temperature dependencies are non-linear above a certain threshold for many impacts with fundamental shifts in thinking required to adapt to the changing climate. It details the health and infrastructure impacts and warns of cascading effects. Underpreparedness of emergency response and lack of surge planning when emergency and mortuary services were under severe strain was noted. Identifies initial improvements in planning, education and communication response. A number of barriers to adaptation were identified including attitudinal, socioeconomic, behavioural, financial and regulatory, information and education, managerial, and technical.
Critique: Very thorough analysis of the 2009 heatwave events and impacts on population and infrastructure highlighting major issues of climate adaptation.
Roeser, S. (2012) Risk Communication, Public Engagement, and Climate Change: A Role for Emotions. Risk Analysis, 32(6) DOI: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2012.01812.x
Summary: Discusses and argues for the important role that emotions can play in public enagement and communicating the risks of climate change. Roeser says 'Emotions are important determinants in risk perception.' and argues that the facts of Climate change are presented through rational methods which are interpreted by most people on an abstract level requiring no emotional commitment or engagement resulting in little commitment to enact change in behaviour. The paper draws on psychology and philosophy to argue for an integration of emotions into the debate for a more thorough understanding of the moral implictions of climate change to provide greater motivation for changing environmental behaviour. While some emotions are seen as a threat to rational deliberation, they can also be employed as a source of reflection and insight empowering moral judgement. Evoking feelings of justice, compassion and sympathy for victims of climate change both current and future can play an important role in narratives which people can identify with and be motivated by. Other emotions such as worry and caring can justify risk based actions using the precautionary principle.
Critique: How the science of climate change is communicated has become an important issue given a very small but well funded vocal minority have caused confusion in the debate on climate change leading to substantial political procrastination on rapid and substantial action to mitigate the risks of climate change. Utilising an emotional and narrativen framework of communication is likely to better engage and motivate direct support for action on government, business and individual levels.
Samuels, R., Tony McCormick and Brett Pollard (2010) Micro-Urban-Climatic Thermal Emissions: in a Medium-Density Residential Precinct, University of New South Wales. City Futures Research Centre, ISBN: 9781740440387
Summary: Used thermal imaging to map a micro-climate in Sydney's inner suburbs. Results showed roads (tarred grey black unshaded) have a 29c transience, while paths (concrete pavers: grey coloured – non-porous/unshaded) have 15 to 20C transience. Using high albedo surfaces may raise heat deflection issues in areas with large multi-level buildings where the reflected heat may be captured.
Scorcher (2013) Retrieved June 6, 2014, from http://www.scorcher.org.au
Summary: Dr Sarah Perkins website tracking current and historical heatwaves based upon her definition from Perkins and Alexander (2013),
Sherwood, S.C., Matthew Huber (2010) An adaptability limit to climate change
due to heat stress. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 107 (21) 9552–9555 doi/10.1073/pnas.0913352107
Summary: This study examines what the physiological limit to adaptation to global warming temperatures might be. It is often considered that humans can adapt to rising temperatures, but by the end of this century with business as usual emissions we may start to see the first zones in the tropics where it becomes too hot for people to live. The researchers looked at temperatures required for the human body to thermoregulate. The researchers used the wet bulb temperature which incorporates humidity in the ambient air temperature measure. The wet bulb temperature currently never exceeds 31 °C. Human body core temperature is maintained at 37C and while this varies very slightly from individual to individual, is not prone to adaptation. Human skin temperature is strongly regulated at 35C to allow transfer of heat from the body to the environment in thermoregulation. If this temperature is exceeded for an extended period, then elevated core body temperatures result (hyperthermia) which can lead to death at body core temperatures of 42-43C and skin temperatures of 37-38C. At about 7C of global warming we will see the first inhabitable zones appear. As warming continues to 11-12 C we may see these zones encompassing most of the tropics and the majority of the human population. Some climate models already project temperatures with more than 10C warming.
Critique: The paper is important as it details the basic physiological limits to human adaptation and by inference it highlights the importance of taking rapid and substantive climate mitigation action to avoid producing zones where these physiological limits are a real and present danger for human habitation. Although this may not be an issue for the current generation, it is in our power to avoid reaching these limits for future gene4rations next century. The paper highlights the threat to humans and other mammal species posed by rising temperatures and heat stress.
Steffen, W. (2013) The Angry Summer. Climate Commission.
Summary: Climate Commission report on the extreme weather heatwaves and hotspells for the 2012/2013 Austral summer, the hottest summer since records began in 1910. in 90 days 123 records were broken throughout Australia. The report provides a detailed summary of heatevents, bushfires, and extreme rainfall. Graphic show the shift to a new climate, the records broken and spatial maps.
Critique: Easy to read and access with excellent graphics to explain the records broken and the climate trend.
Steffen, W., and Lesley Hughes (2013) Off the Charts. Record Breaking October Heat and Climate Change . Climate Council
Summary: One of the first reports of the reincarnation of the Climate Commission as the publicly supported and funded Climate Council. Details the exceptional heat event across Australia for October 2013. Lists records broken and also argues the link to climate change.
Critique: Relatively short report well laid out with good graphics.
Steffen, W. (2014) Off the Charts: 2013 was Australia's hottest year. Climate Council. http://www.climatecouncil.org.au/offthecharts
Summary: Details and explains the records broken and the extraordinary nature of 2013, Australia's hottest year on record since records were started in 1910. Puts the year in context, and articulates the link to climate change.
Critique: Relatively short report with graphs.
Steffen, W., Lesley Hughes, Sarah Perkins (2014) Heatwaves: Hotter, Longer, More Often – Climate Council
Summary: Major literature review and descriptive analysis on heatwaves in Australia. This report goes into much detail on why heatwaves are becoming longer and more intense, the impacts of heatwaves, interaction with other extreme events such as droughts and bushfires, marine heatwave impact on coral reef ecosystems and projections for heatwave impacts globally and for Australia. Includes a brief look at Melbourne 2009 heatwave and it's multiple impacts. Contains sections on workplace safety and productivity, infrastructure, agriculture, natural ecosystems
Critique: Well rounded, thorough and accessible (for a general audience) literature review with good layout and use of graphics. Uses my photo on the front cover.
Steffen, W. (2014) Climate Council Seasonal Update: Abnormal Autumn 2014. Climate Council
Summary: Australia recorded its hottest 24 month period on record to April 2014. Average temperature for April 2014 was 1.11 °C above the long-term average with an abnormally warm May delaying the onset of Winter. Many sites saw daytime temperatures 4 – 6 degress above average over much of south and central Australia. The 24 month period to May 2014 is likely to exceed this record. Temperatures are projected to continue to increase adding to an increase in the number of extreme fire weather days with a longer fire season in southern regions.
Steffen, W. (2015) Quantifying the Impact of Climate Change on Extreme Heat in Australia. Climate Council
Summary: Clearly spells out the latest research that climate change is making Australia hotter. Hot days are happening more often while heatwaves are becoming hotter, longer and more frequent. There has been a doubling or record hot days since 1960. Heatwaves are becoming hotter, lasting longer, occurring more often and starting earlier. Articulates that the latest Fractional Risk attribution studies shows that Australia's record hot year of 2013 was virtually impossible without climate change. The report argues that carbon emissions must be reduced rapidly and deeply if the worst of extreme heat in the second half of the century is to be avoided. Clean energy technologies and international action is increasing in the lead-up to the Paris climate talks and should be supported.
Critique: The report lists the latest research studies published in 2014 on Australian heatwave characteristics and attribution to climate change.
Tapper, N. (2014) Tackling Urban Heat. Professor Nigel Tapper's presentation at the City of Moreland (25 june 2014) on urban heat island effects. NAGA website
Summary: Informative powerpoint presentation by Tapper on recent research work he is undertaking with colleagues on moderating the urban heat island effect for climate adaptation to reduce the risk to mortality and morbidity from extreme heat and heatwaves in the urban environment.
Tong S., Xiao Yu Wang, Weiwei Yu, Dong Chen, and Xiaoming Wang (2014) The impact of heatwaves on mortality in Australia: a multicity study. BMJ Open 2014;4:e003579 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003579
Summary: This study of heat related mortality in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne reported that heatwaves appeared to affect mortality more in Brisbane and Melbourne than in Sydney and conjectured that this may be due to more extended heat periods in Brisbane and Melbourne as well as different adaptation and individual behavioural response between the cities. The data showed a propensity for more deaths in heatwaves later in the summer with the elderly particularly females more vulnerable., which is at odds with some other heatwave studies which found greater deaths from earlier heatwaves. The authors suggest that menopause reducing thermoregulation and cardiovascular fitness may be responsible for increased elderly female vulnerability.
Critique: A valuable study that is in general agreement with other heatwave mortality studies but throws up some surprises such as higher deaths from late season heatwaves and higher elederly female vuolnerability.
Torok, S.J., Christopher Morris, Carol Skinner, and Neil Plummer (2001) Urban heat island features of southeast Australian towns. Aust. Meteor. Mag., 50, 1–13.
Summary: Study into the Urban heat island effect for Melbourne and several Victorian towns based upon transects. The urban rural temperature difference was found to increase with increasing population, although slightly lower than equivaolent correlations done in Europe and the USA. Even small towns were found to have a small UHI effect. This has implications for location and siting of instruments for measuring ground-level temperatures for climate change. Melbourne's UHI in August was found to peak at 7.1C in the CBD, with noticeable troughs at Princes Park and undeveloped industrial areas.
Critique: This study has been used by climate denial sceptics to argue the global temperature record is flawed due to the urban heat island effect.
United States Environment Protection Agency (2012) Cool Pavements Chapter from 'EPA’s Reducing Urban Heat Islands: Compendium of Strategies'
Summary: Benefits and strategies for using pavement material that reduces the urban heat island effect through reducing albedo, increased permiability, increased water retentive capacity. Summarising main surfaces or techniques used. It can result in reduction of local temperatures, and thus reduction in energy use when generators are often at peak load with reduced energy transmission efficiency. Permeabile surfaces reduce stormwater runoff recharging soil moisture and reducing stress on stormwater infrastructure.
Critique: Although US based in it's use of examples and research, it has wide applicability to use in other regions, including Australia.
University of Melbourne (2011) Cool Roofs: City of Melbourne Research Report
Summary: Local Melbourne research on the applicability and effectiveness of cool roofs and green roofs. Recommended that application of high reflectivity paints and surfaces are reduce building heating and therefiore reduce the necessity for air conditioned cooling.
Critique: While this research is valuable, especially for the local Melbourne climate and geography, it does not investigate whether and to what extent widespread application of cool roof strategies may impact on the regional hydro climate as found in later research undertaken by Jacobson (2012) and Georgescu (2012, 2013, 2014)
Victorian Auditor General’s Office (2014) Heatwave Management: Reducing the Risk to Public Health. Report tabled in State Parliament 14 October 2014
Summary: An important investigation on governance and implementation of heatwave management co-ordination by the State Government. The report identified many critical gaps including: lack of clear governance arrangements with roles and responsibilities; variable quality of planning and preparedness; public health messages and warnings not always being well targeted; activation of heatwave plans was not well understood by agencies and applied inconsistently.
Victorian Council of Social Service (2013), Feeling the heat: heat waves and social vulnerability in Victoria
Summary: Victorian Council of Social Services report on heatwaves and social vulnerability. This report identifies major governance issues with regard to emergency planning and response in dealing with extreme heat events especially to those most vulnerable to heat events. Outlines positive actions including placing the State heatwave plan on the same level as bushfire and flood emergency response, resource and co-ordinate heatwave planning, legislate improved building thermal efficiency standards, provision of cool spaces, and engage community sector organisations and high risk communities in developing appropriate heatwave strategies.
Critique: The importance of this study is the identification of vulnerability and co-ordination of responses with community sector and high risk communities.
Wales, N., Isara Khanjanasthiti, Sarah Savage, George Earl (2012) Climate Change Resilience of Melbourne. Mirvac School of Sustainable Development. Paper 185.
Summary: Articulates the potential climate change risks for Melbourne: drought, intense rainfall, extreme temperature and heatwave events, and sea level rise. It examines the major climate change policies and framework initiatives of local councils for mitigation and adaptation.
Critique: Focus is on City of Melbourne Council and Westenport although it does detail regional council alliances established to co-ordinate climate change response planning. Does not include reference to NAGA.
Webb, L., J. Whiting, A. Watt, T. Hill, F. Wigg, G. Dunn, S. Needs & E. W.R. Barlow (2010), Managing Grapevines through Severe Heat: A Survey of Growers after the 2009 Summer Heatwave in South-eastern Australia. Journal of Wine Research, 21 (2-3) 2010 pp 147-165
Summary: An examination of the impact of extreme heat on grapegrowing and the Australian wine industry. Management strategies are possible to implement significantly reduce heat damage to the grape crop.
Welbergen, J.A., Stefan M Klose, Nicola Markus, Peggy Eby, 2008: Climate change and the effects of temperature extremes on Australian flying-foxes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2007.1385
Summary: Extreme temperatures and heatwaves will have an enormous impact on natural systems as well as human systems. This study examines the impact of extreme heat on flying fox colonies and it's implications for behaviour, demography and species survival. This will also impact human systems as flying foxes provide important ecosystem services such as pollination and seed dispersal of crops and other plants. Die-offs occurred in colonies at temperatures between 41.7 and 43.48C with young and lactating females having a much higher mortality rate. Some species are adapting by contracting their northerly range and moving further south. Climate change impacts competing flying fox species differently changing the dynamics between species and complicating the estimation of ecological responses to climate change. Colonies are found from Cape York down the east coast to Melbourne.
Critique: As flying foxes have a very low natural resilience to increased temperatures, they are an important signature species to watch. The study highlights that climate change will have a profound and in many instances unpredictable impact on species survival, adaptation and ecosystems, and services they provide to human agricultural systems.
Wilson, J.N., Sarah Bekessy, Kirsten M. Parris, Ascelin Gordon, Geoffrey W. Heard and Brendan A. Wintle (2013) Impacts of climate change and urban development on the spotted marsh frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis). Austral Ecology 38, 11-12
Summary: A study of the Spotted Marsh frog and an assessment of fringe urban development and climate change will have on this frog's primary habitat along the Merri Creek in Melbourne's north. Rising temperratures and reduced precipitation are likely to change for pond levels to reduce until they become ephemeral as soon as 2030 in the worst case scenario. This will result in 'an average decrease in the probability of occupancy of 41% across the pond sites'.
Xu, Z., Cunrui Huang, Wenbiao Hu, Lyle R Turner, Hong Su, Shilu Tong (2013) Extreme temperatures and emergency department admissions for childhood asthma in Brisbane, Australia . Occupational and Environmental Medicine doi:10.1136/oemed-2013-101538
Summary: An analysis of extreme cold and hot weather on asthma admissions to hospital in Brisbane. Identifies key asthma groups likely to be impacted by heatwaves.
Critique: This was a one city study so results are limited and may vary depending on climate and geographical factors.
Yaghoobian, N., Jan Kleissl, E. Scott Krayenhoff (2010) Modelling the Thermal Effects of Artificial Turf on the Urban Environment. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology. Vol 49 332-345
Summary:This study models the thermal properties of artificial turf when used in the urban environment of California and compares its urban canopy energy balance to other surfaces such as concrete and ashphalt. Synthetic grass has a lower albedo than most urban surfaces resulting in a reduction in shortwave radiation and an equal increase in longwave radiation, so there is less radiation being reflected to warm up surrounding walls. Synthetic grass warms up more than natural vegetation due to lack of evapotranspiration. The researchers note that there is anecdotal and evidence that synthetic turf surfaces can warm up as much as 20C more than regular grass surfaces. Using a 3D heat transfer model the researchers studied the effects of synthetic grass on the energy balance of nearby buildings and the temperature of the urban area. One of the major differences between artificial grass and manicured lawns is the water required to maintain natural lawns. The results indicated that the largest heat flux from ground to canopy occurs over artificial grass, but due to the low albedo, there is less shortwave radiation through windows in buildings near artificial grass resulting in a 17% lower design cooling load. However due to air temperature canopy heating it causes a 60% increase in the cooling loads for ventilation and conduction. The researchers point out that there is also embodied energy in water used in maintaining manicured lawns. When this energy in transport, delivery and use of water is accounted for there is a total energy use saving resulting in water and energy conservation. Drought tolerant plants which require significantly less water than lawn may have a similar effect as artificial turf conjecture the researchers.
Critique: This study raises many questions about how different surfaces in urban environments contribute to the urban heat island effect. NASA satellite photos of zonal temperature measurements of urban environments show artifical turf increases local surface temperatures. The researchers were surprised that artificial grass actually resulted in a total energy use saving once water use was factored in to the equations as compared to manicured and watered lawn surfaces.
Zacharias S., Christina Koppe and Hans-Guido Mücke (2015) Climate Change Effects on Heat Waves and Future Heat Wave-Associated IHD Mortality in Germany. Climate 2015, 3(1), 100-117; doi:10.3390/cli3010100
Summary: The rate of heart disease deaths associated with more frequent, longer and more intense heatwaves in Germany was studied with simulations from 19 regional climate models. By the end of the century heart disease related deaths influenced by the occurrence of heatwaves with climate change my be 2.4 to 5.1 times as many as currently recorded.
Critique: Similar to research conducted in recent years in Australia with the authors indicating the importance of public health interventions to reduce the vulnerability of the population to heat waves, including heat health warning systems, heat wave action plans, enhanced use of air conditioning, and individual behavioral adaptation as have been adopted in recent years in Australia.
Zander, Kerstin K., Wouter J. W. Botzen, Elspeth Oppermann, Tord Kjellstrom & Stephen T. Garnett (2015) Heat stress causes substantial labour productivity loss in Australia. Nature Climate Change (2015) doi:10.1038/nclimate2623 Added 7 May 2015
Summary: Examines the impact of heat stress associated with climate change on labour productivity in Australia for the period 2013-2014. Researchers found "that the annual costs were US$655 per person across a representative sample of 1,726 employed Australians. This represents an annual economic burden of around US$6.2 billion (95% CI: 5.2–7.3 billion) for the Australian workforce. This amounts to 0.33 to 0.47% of Australia’s GDP."
The study found there was a strong correlation between outside work and lost productivity, particularly by men. A surprising result was that about half the productivity lost was attributed to people mostly working inside. The researchers postulate this is due to managerial staff affected, though relatively small in number, have a much high productivity cost when they are impacted. This suggests that while there are many ways of managing heat stress at work, that emploers may need to consider strategies that help employees manage heat conditions away from work. The researchers call for adaptation measures to reduce heat effects to be adopted widely to avoid severe economic impacts of future heat stress with heatwaves.
Critique: This is an important ground-breaking study in that it attempts to do a first level cost quantification of heat stress impact on labour productivity in Australia already occurring. Costs are projected to be even greater as temperatures and extreme heat events are projected to start earlier and increase in frequency, duration and intensity.