Extreme heat ‘dangerous’ to Coast economy
THE Gold Coast will suffer through a month-long heatwave every year by 2090 according to experts conducting long range weather modelling.
The forecast extreme temperature spikes could strain the city's health system, adversely impact on the city's economy, and drive people indoors.
Research from the Australia Institute using the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and Bureau of Meteorology modelling, shows within 70 years the Coast will record 34 days with highs of 35C, compared to just one day a year currently.
The research predicts 40 nights a year will reach 25C and in just over a decade, the city will already have at least four extreme heat days a year and two nights above 25C.
Australia Institute principal adviser Mark Ogge said the combination of extreme heat and higher humidity could impact tourism.
"When you get these extreme heats, there are a lot of regulations around sporting events, the army, occupational health and safety … tradies shouldn't be working, it's just really dangerous, it would impact every aspect of people's lives."
Professor Catherine Pickering from the Griffith University's School of Environment and Science said the modelling revealed extreme storms, flooding and coastal erosion would accompany the hotter conditions.
"It will include people having to access the health system more and a massive increase in the use of power that may cause blackouts," she said.
"We also see the issue of infrastructure not being adapted to it … (like trains) … or schools without airconditioning, that would have to close for the day.
"You would have to cancel outdoor activities, like festivals and sporting events, we can then get issues from people staying indoors and business dropping off for local traders."
Prof Pickering said planting more trees had been proven to reduce heat stress, heatwaves, flooding and coastal erosion.
Immediate former president of the Urban Development Institute of Australia Steve Harrison said developers were already attempting to combat urban heat by trying to increase air flow and create more green space.
"There are lessons to be learned from Singapore, which already has relatively high humidity, there they use designs that increase airflow between buildings," he said.
Dr Sonu Haikerwal of the Haan Health Centre said the increase in heat days would affect the vulnerable.
"I think the trend is worrying, we see more and more patients that have been sunburnt or have severe heat exposure," she said.
"Food handling could become a real issue, we often see after hot days there's an increase in food poisoning."
In the meantime Gold Coasters can expect a mild end to spring, with tops of about 25C and lows of 18C expected this week.