Getting ready for the 104F (40C) Sydney Local weather Apocalypse – Watts Up With That?

Essay by Eric Worrall

They forgot to say “Evacuate everyone south of that line…”. Apparently the green electricity of the future will be too unreliable to depend on air conditioning.

When homes already hit 40°C inside, it’s better to draw on residents’ local know-howthan plan for climate change from above

Published: February 23, 2024 10.18am AEDT

Abby Mellick Lopes Associate Professor, Design Studies, Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, University of Technology Sydney
Cameron Tonkinwise Professor, School of Design, University of Technology Sydney
Stephen Healy Associate Professor, Human Geography and Urban Studies School of Social Sciences/ Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University

Weather extremes driven by climate change hit low-income communities harder. The reasons include poor housing and lack of access to safe and comfortable public spaces. This makes “climate readiness” a pressing issue for governments, city planners and emergency services in fast-growing areas such as Western Sydney. 

Last summer was relatively mild, but we recorded temperatures as high as 40°C inside some homes. Recalling a heatwave in 2019, one resident said: “The clay had cracks in the grass that you could almost twist your ankles.”

Official responses to climate extremes typically rely on a retreat indoors. These “last resort” shelters depend in most cases on a reliable electricity supply, which can be cut during heatwaves. 

There have been efforts, but not in Australia, to establish a “passive survivability” building code. The aim is to ensure homes remain tolerably cool during a heatwave (or warm during a cold snap) even if power is cut for a number of days.

Read more:

Too bad the professors didn’t push for reliable nuclear power, or for replacing or upgrading Australia’s fleet of aging fossil fuel electricity plants. A big surplus of reliable electricity located close to the city would massively reduce the risk of blackouts.

700 miles closer to the equator, we Queenslanders are already living this predicted 104F Sydney climate apocalypse. I’m happy to share the life saving strategies we have developed. When the temperature hits 104F, we find some convenient shade and drink an ice cold beer. If the first beer doesn’t work, we drink a second beer. After this we go for a swim, or maybe fire up the BBQ.


Article Rating

Like this:

Like Loading…

Comments are closed.