Heatwaves on the rise
The global picture
While the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires killed more than 170 people, the preceding heatwave killed double this figure. The economic burden of heatwaves is significant, through the demand placed on emergency services, infrastructure stress and breakdown, and agricultural losses. For example, as temperatures soared during the 2009 heatwave, the Basslink electricity cable between Tasmania and Victoria reached maximum operating temperature, causing the system to shut down and resulting in widespread blackouts in Melbourne.