Key Findings: Heatwaves: The southern Australian Experience of 2009

Authors: Jim Reeves, 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 and Megan Ling
Year: 2010

This factsheet presents the key findings of a project conducted to understand adaptation lessons from the extreme heatwave that affected south-eastern Australia during the summer of 2009. Having been registered as one of the nations most severe episodes of high temperatures over an extended period of time, the heatwave resulted in the death of as many as 500 people and financial losses in the order of $800 million. The factsheet contains further information on the scale of the disaster, the characteristics that resulted in the damaging impacts of the event, the adaptation actions and vulnerability pre and post the event, the successes and failures of the events management, and lessons learnt. In particular, the problem associated with demographic changes in Australia is highlighted, including the ageing population, and the adaptation strategies required to increase their resilience. This study is one of a suite of Historical Case Studies of Extreme Events conducted under Phase 1 of the NCCARF Synthesis and Integrative Research Program to examine present-day management of climate variability and the lessons that can be learnt for adaptation to future climate change.

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