Extreme Heat A Threat To Western Sydney


Extreme heat could pose a serious threat to the well-being of people living in western Sydney, according to a new analysis that predicts that the number of days above 35 degrees in the region will increase fivefold.

The Australian Institute's Western Sydney Heatwatch report, published on Tuesday, predicts that days of extreme heat above 35 degrees could increase from the historical average of 10.6 days a year to as much as 52 days a year by 2090 if emissions are not reduced.

The report, which uses the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology modeling, says the region already experiences temperatures of six to 10 degrees higher in extreme heat waves than eastern Sydney as a result of its geography and urban environment.

"People living and working in western Sydney will go through many hotter days than people in other parts of the state – and western Sydney will become an increasingly unwelcome place to live in parts of the NSW "says the report.

The area has seen days of extreme heat rise from 9.5 days in the 1970s to 15.4 days in the last decade.

That could more than triple by 2090.

Based on data projections, eastern suburban Coogee would register up to 22 days above 35 degrees while Parramatta would withstand up to 43.5 days of extreme heat per year.

Penrith would record up to 58.7 days, Bankstown up to 36.8 and Richmond nearly 67.

Days over 40 degrees should also increase from the historical average of one day a year to as many as 12.

Richie Merzian, director of the Australian Institute's climate and energy program, said the heat issue in the region will be exacerbated as global warming increases the frequency and intensity of extreme heat events.

"This is a serious threat to the health and well-being of residents in western Sydney," he said in a statement.

The projections may also have implications for the infrastructure, since extreme heat damages the railroad lines of roads and buckles; and for coal-fired power plants in the state, which can break into hot flashes, Merzian said.

However, the report found that if emissions are reduced to maintain global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the number of days of 35 degrees can be limited to an average of 19.1 days a year.


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