Temperatures may be predicted to peak over the long weekend in some parts of Australia, but if you believe in numbers, statistically the most lethal day is 27 January.
This was the finding of a recent study (Coates et al 2014) that analysed 167 years of extreme heat events.
Whether it’s because we are dehydrated from Australia Day parties or it’s the first day back at work following the summer holidays and we are unacclimatised to the work level, if you are a numbers person, take it easy next Tuesday.
HEAT STRESS is Australia’s number one natural killer, accounting for the deaths of more people than floods, cyclones, bushfires and storms combined. Since 1900, extreme heat events have been responsible for at least 4555 fatalities in Australia, more than the combined total death from all other natural hazards.
Unfortunately if you are in Sydney, Brisbane or Cairns the outlook is not only hot but also more humid (Jacobs et al, 2013). A recent study that analysed thermal comfort and apparent temperature (a measure of how the temperature ‘feels’) concluded that the future trend in temperature will see an increase in all capital cities (except Hobart). Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns will also see an increasing trend in apparent temperature.