Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2020


Keeping Our Cool -2 Other responses to extreme heat

A step in the right direction. This shelter in a public park not only provides shade, but protection from UV. We need much more of this - also water fountains and drink bottle filling stations, not only in parks but schools, sporting fields and other public spaces Countries which have historically had warmer climates, have developed a number of ways to deal with extreme heat. For example, Spain and Latin American countries have traditionally had their siesta in the hottest part of the day and their homes make use of a number of passive cooling devices such as louvres which keep out the heat but allow airflow or incorporate features such as high ceilings and terrazzo floors which keep internal temperatures down.   In the Middle East there are features such as decorative breeze blocks, open courtyards, water features, thick stone or adobe walls and the abundant use of vegetation.   “ Windcatchers ”  are a traditional Persian architectural element that provides passive cooling and ven

Keeping our Cool – 1 Protecting ourselves from extreme heat

  Cooling off Russian style during the heatwave of 2010. That heatwave believed to be the worst in its history, killed an estimated 55,736 people With a record breaking heatwave expected to run right across Australia from Broome in the North West to South Eastern Australia this weekend, I had better post this about protecting yourself and your family now. After that we’ll talk about some of the longer term measures which various countries, communities and workplaces are taking, given that such heat waves are becoming increasingly common. Make no mistake about it, heat kills. In fact, in Australia and the USA, heat kills more people than any other weather related phenomenon – more than floods, more than hurricanes and cyclones, and that’s not counting those people with underlying conditions such as heart disease, whose deaths are not necessarily attributed to extreme heat, but in which higher temperatures may well have played a role.   The World Health Organisation estimates that

How to protect yourself from a Bushfire

Image by Julie Clarke from Pixabay Unfortunately Australia is rapidly developing expertise in what works and what doesn’t when it comes to bushfires.   We, closely followed by California, are right in the front lines when it comes to a warmer and dryer planet, so here are some hints. I’ve taken most of these from the South Australian Country Fire Service pages because theirs are very comprehensive, but do check what your local community is doing too especially with regard to Evacuation Centres or Safe Places.   Long before a fire   Clear away rubbish and long grass, make sure there are no trees close to the house.   Clear gutters and put in quality metal   leaf guards Fit fine mesh screens on doors and windows as it is often embers from fires which cause houses to burn down. One bushfire which I saw from ten kilometres away still carried smoke and burning debris to the place where I was staying. Bushfires generate their own weather. ·            Make that Fire Plan. H

Getting Ready for Summer -1 Bushfire Season

Sign at Death Valley (USA) which had the world's highest recorded temperature (54.44 oC/ 130oC) in June 2020 Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay   Once upon a time we looked forward to summer. It conjured up images of lazy days by the pool or the beach and the expression “Are you ready for Christmas,” meant baking puddings and making Christmas card lists. Now we are making fire plans and approach the season with fear and trepidation. For many it will bring back painful memories of the Christmas past, especially for those who are still waiting for help to rebuild their homes, despite all the generous donations and the funds promised by the Australian government.    Fortunately there's just been an excellent series on the the ABC  “Big Weather and how to survive it.” which has a lot of useful tips. If you live in Australia and haven't seen it yet, you should. If you haven't made any preparations yet, both the ABC   and the Allianz Insurance group also offer good