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BOM upgrades Heatwave Service ahead of summer

The improved mapping technology allows the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to deliver more accurate information to the public about heatwave events.

Ahead of extreme temperatures expected this summer, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has activated an upgraded Heatwave Service.

The service uses a map format and a heatwave severity index to visually represent locations at risk of high temperatures over a three-day period to measure the build-up of heat during that time.

The heatwave mapping technology has been improved this year by upgrading from a 25 kilometre to a five kilometre grid resolution, significantly increasing their accuracy and enhancing their capability to take local features into account.

AIDR Director Community Safety and Resilience Amanda Leck said the technology helps to bring the public’s attention to the threat of heatwaves, considered the deadliest natural hazard in Australia since European settlement.

“Heatwaves are a natural hazard like no other. In more recent years they have become often more intense, of longer duration and cover greater areas,” she said.

“People do not perceive the risk as the threat is not as visible as with other natural hazards such as a bushfire or cyclone.”

The heatwave service is available on the BOM website. An accompanying video is also available to explain the service and advise people of how to plan ahead for a heatwave.