Natural Hazards in Australia: heatwaves.

Perkins, S.E., C.J. White, L.V. Alexander, D. Argueso, G. Boschat, T. Cowan, J.P. Evans, M. Ekstrom, E.C.J. Oliver, A. Phatak and A. Purich
Greenhouse 2015, Hobart, Australia, 27-30 October 2015.


Heatwaves have disastrous impacts on many different systems, including human health, infrastructure and natural ecosystems. Australia is no stranger to these impacts, with over 370 fatalities attributed to the 2009 Victorian heatwave, and 3500 flying foxes killed when temperatures soared to 42°C over New South Wales in 2002. Marine heatwaves (prolonged periods of anomalously warm oceans) also have significant impacts. The infamous ‘Ningaloo Niño’ in 2011 led to a ‘tropicalisation’ of fish communities and severely damaged the distribution of temperate seaweeds and fish, which may never fully recover. Recent research efforts have concentrated on furthering our understanding of both terrestrial and marine heatwaves. However, a comprehensive understanding of these events also requires a comprehensive understanding of the underpinning physical mechanisms and their interactions. This presentation reviews the current state of the scientific knowledge of marine and terrestrial heatwaves, with particular emphasis for the Australian region. Based on this knowledge, recommendations are given for the concentration of future research, both short and long term, and how the Australian science community, as well as the global science community, will benefit from this. The supporting paper for this presentation is part of the OzEWEX special edition on Australian hazards.

UNSW    This page is maintaind by Jason Evans | Last updated 31st January 2013