Major global cities to experience ‘striking change’ in climate by 2050

A new study from the Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich has found that 77% of major cities around the world will experience a climate in 2050 that is closer to that of another existing city than to its own current climate – and 22% will experience climate conditions not currently experienced by any other major city today.

Researchers from the Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich analysed 520 major global cities to see if their climate in 2050 will more closely resemble their own current climate conditions or those of other cities in very different climate regions.

They found that even under an optimistic climate scenario, over three quarters of the cities are very likely to experience a climate that is closer to that of another existing city than to their own current climate. More specifically, cities from the Northern hemisphere will experience warmer conditions currently found in cities over 1,000 kilometres to the south. For example, they predict that Madrid’s climate will resemble Marrakech’s climate today, Stockholm will resemble Budapest, and London will be more like Barcelona. Cities in the tropics, in contrast, will experience much drier conditions.

What’s more, the study found that 22% of cities will experience conditions not currently found in any city in the world, which the researchers warn is a “highly conservative estimate”. Of these cities, 64% are located in the tropics, including Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Singapore.

“We definitely and very quickly need to change the way we are living on the planet,” Reuters quoted lead author Jean-François Bastin. “Otherwise we are just going to have more and more droughts, flooding and extreme events.”

Image credit: Raïssa via Flickr


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