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Heatwaves - Managing the 'Silent Killers'
Speaker Name
Prof. Glenn McGREGOR
Speaker Detail

Professor of Climatology, Department of Geography
Durham University, United Kingdom

G5-317, 5/F, Yeung Kin Man Academic Building, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Organizer: School of Energy and Environment
City University of Hong Kong


Heatwaves are among the most dangerous of natural hazards, but rarely receive adequate attention. They often lack the spectacular and sudden violence of other hazards, such as tropical cyclones or flash floods. For this reason they are often referred to as the ‘Silent Killers’ with the related death tolls not always immediately obvious. For example, the European heatwaves in the northern hemisphere summer of 2003 were responsible for the deaths of 70,000 to 80,000 people. Because heatwaves have emerged as a major hazard over the last 20 years and are likely to become increasingly important as a result of climate change, this seminar will consider the physical causes of heatwaves as well as their health impacts. Some of the strategies for managing heatwave risk, with an emphasis on heat vulnerability mapping in London, United Kingdom, will also be outlined.

About the Speaker

Prof. Glenn McGREGOR graduated with a BSc and MSc (1st Class) in Geography from the University of Auckland in the mid to late 1970s. Following the completion of his MSc at Auckland (glacial sedimentology) he was awarded a NZ University Grants Committee PhD scholarship which he took up at the Department of Geography, University of Canterbury in Christchurch (South Island of New Zealand) where he undertook research on snow avalanches. Following completion of the PhD, Prof. McGREGOR won a Japanese Government Monbusho scholarship for 2 years postdoctoral research at the Institute of Low Temperature Science, University of Hokkaido, Japan where he followed up on snow avalanche related research. At the end of the postdoc, he returned to NZ to work in the environmental consultancy industry for 12 months and then took up his first academic post at the University of Papua New Guinea in 1987 where he worked until 1990 before leaving for Hong Kong to work in the Department of Geography at Hong Baptist College (now Hong Kong Baptist University). Following three years in Hong Kong, Prof. McGREGOR moved to the University of Birmingham, UK where he worked for 13 years in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences moving from Lecturer at the time of his appointment to Reader just before his departure to take up a Chair in Physical Geography at King’s College London (KCL) in 2005. In 2008 he left KCL and returned to his Alma Mata to take up the position of Director of the School of Environment (2008 - 2013) and Professor of Climatology and Associate Dean International in the Faculty of Science (2013 - 2014). In 2014 Prof. McGREGOR joined Durham University in the United Kingdom as Professor of Climatology and Principal of Ustinov College at Durham University in the United Kingdom. Amongst international activities are lead author roles for the IPCC (SREX and 6AR), Chief Editor of the International Journal of Climatology (1997 – 2013), WMO Lead Expert on Climate and Health (2005 – 2010), President of the International Society of Biometeorology (2011 – 2014) and research advisory board memberships for the Australian Research Council’s Water Sensitive Cities Programme and the Shanghai Bureau of Meteorology Climate and Health Laboratory.