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Heatwaves, drought and wildfires

Climate related extreme weather events such as heatwaves, drought, and wildfires have direct and indirect health effects.

Read this text before watching the video above.

Climate related extreme weather events such as heatwaves, drought, and wildfires have direct and indirect health effects.

Working in extreme heat can make us ill, or greatly reduce our productivity. In some parts of the world, temperatures already exceed the international standard for safe work activity. In Australia, one study estimated that the number of “dangerously hot” days, when core body temperatures may increase by ≥ 2oC and outdoor activity is hazardous, is projected to rise from the current 4-6 days per year to 33-45 days per year by 2070 (IPCC Chapter 11).

Heat is particularly dangerous for urban populations of the elderly, infants, people with chronic diseases, and expectant mothers. Extreme heat can hinder organizations’ ability to provide health, emergency, and social services for vulnerable groups, so the involvement of the health sector in climate adaptation essential.

In most countries, the increase in heat deaths is expected to greatly outweigh any reduction in cold deaths associated with warming.

Watch the video above to learn about drought in Kenya and wildfires in Australia then watch this BBC news clip to understand the health effects of heatwaves in France in 2003.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Now move on to the discussion.


D. McCoy and N.Watts. 2015. Climate Change: Health Impacts and Opportunities a Summary and Discussion of the IPCC Working Group 2 Report.

IPCC, 2014: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Field, C.B., V.R. Barros, D.J. Dokken, K.J. Mach, M.D. Mastrandrea, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea, and L.L.White (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 1132 pp.

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