Climate Centre launches new podcast series with a detailed look at heatwaves

Climate Centre launches new podcast series with a detailed look at heatwaves
30 June 2020

The Climate Centre today launches a new multimedia resource for the humanitarian sector, podcasts, with a detailed look at heatwaves – one of the most intuitively understood climate impacts of all.

The new talks are written and presented by Roop Singh, the centre’s Climate Risk Adviser, and the series is called Can’t Take the Heat, exploring how people will adapt to a warming world.

The planet is heating up at an accelerating pace, visible in frequent forest fires, worse storm surges, and the intense heatwaves whose growing notoriety as the silent killer of disasters is examined in today’s podcast.


Roop approaches the biggest challenges posed by climate change from a humanitarian perspective.

How will the impacts of climate change affect people around the world? What are the big solutions in the works? How do we make them happen?

The podcasts feature experts from around the world, including leading scientists developing climate solutions and humanitarian volunteers telling stories of climate change from the front line of disaster.

New episodes will be posted every other Tuesday.

“In our first podcast we’re discussing the surprisingly deadly heatwaves that kill thousands of people every year, and those are the ones we know of,” says Roop, who also writes about heat and Covid-19 in a new blog for the German Red Cross-hosted Anticipation Hub. 

“There are probably many more deaths that aren’t counted, especially in places where it’s hot all year.

“But the good news is that we can forecast heatwaves days or even weeks in advance and take actions to reduce the risk of death or illness. Most importantly such actions are simple and cost-effective.”

Heat illness

Red Cross Red Crescent guides to heatwave precautions in cities – published in two parts this year and last aimed at National Societies and municipalities respectively – outline things that can be done to save lives during heatwaves.

These include the need to reschedule work outdoors to early in the morning or late in the evening, drinking plenty of water and wearing light clothing, keeping an eye on vulnerable elderly people, and recognizing signs of heat illness before it becomes life-threatening.

Today’s podcast also features Dr Vincent Luo of the University of Reading and Bithika Biwas of the World Food Programme, as well as other Climate Centre experts. Music is by Kevin MacLeod and art by Melinda.

Vietnamese Red Cross volunteers talk to Hanoi street vendors last year about the dangers of extreme heat. With technical support from the German Red Cross, the National Society set up mobile cooling centres during the August 2019 heatwave, and is developing a methodology for mapping heatwave impacts in parts of the city. (Photo: Viet Nam Red Cross)