Exploring the effect of heat on stated intentions to move

Abstract

Climate change is leading to more frequent and longer heat waves and in many places, such as large parts of Australia, to an increase in average temperatures. Rising temperatures can reduce well-being and influence decisions about residency and mobility among people. This study assesses the intentions of a nationally representative sample of working-age people living in Australia to move to somewhere cooler than where they currently live as a response to increasing heat. We found that 11 % of respondents intend to move away from their current place or residence because of increasing temperatures. We also found that men are more likely to intend to move, as are those who feel often stressed by heat, those with a generally high level of mobility, and those who are worried about climate change. Age does not explain movement intentions although it has been found that young people are generally the most mobile, and then those in retirement age again. This means that people formerly expected to be rather immobile might be more likely to intend to move when they feel the local climate has become intolerably hot. Planning for infrastructure and service provision, which has a long lead time, will therefore need adjustment to account for the likely effects of climate change on mobility decisions and settlement patterns.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    We use mobility as a broader term covering all types of movements, such as migration and internal movements, residential and temporary (for mobility frameworks, see, for instance, Zelinsky 1971, or Sheller and Urry 2006).

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Author contributions

KKZ and STG had the initial idea for the study. KKZ and STG designed the study and KKZ was responsible for data collection and analysis. AK provided conceptual advice and helped with interpretation of data. KKZ and STG wrote the first draft of the paper and all three authors have reviewed the manuscript critically for important intellectual content. All authors have given final approval of this version to be published.

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Correspondence to Kerstin K. Zander.

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Zander, K.K., Surjan, A. & Garnett, S.T. Exploring the effect of heat on stated intentions to move. Climatic Change 138, 297–308 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-016-1727-9

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Keywords

  • Heat Wave
  • Current Place
  • General Mobility
  • Migration Intention
  • Movement Intention