London will have a climate similar to today’s Barcelona in a span of three decades as found by research. However, that is not alluring as it seems because of the warning of severe drought that may come along with the change so predicted.
As per a report on the probable climate crisis impacts, Madrid will feel like present-day Marrakech, and Stockholm like Budapest by 2050. Globally, cities that are currently in temperate or cold zones in the northern hemisphere will be like cities 600 miles (1,000km) and more closer to the equator, also with harmful effects on health and infrastructure.
An interactive map has been created by the researchers showing 2050 counterparts of hundreds of cities. The study suggests some analogs amongst which Moscow will be like Sofia, Seattle to feel like San Francisco while New York will be similar to Virginia Beach.
Many cities that are at present in temperate climate zones will get affected by water shortages as a result of global heating, which as per forecasts will drive the summer temperatures of many European cities to as much as 3.5C while the winter expected to remain at 4.7C.
The study of 520 prime cities published in the journal Plos One, found nearly eight in 10 cities will face dramatic changes.
An extreme drought just over 10 years ago affected Barcelona endangering many inhabitants, and tens of millions of euros got spent for importing drinking water. Most possibly, London and cities in similar latitudes will suffer from the same problems in the future, as per the researchers.
The most concerning findings among others are that the residents of about a fifth of cities around the world including Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Yangon will face conditions which are not witnessed in any major cities in the world currently. Tom Crowther, founder of the Crowther Lab in Switzerland, which carried out the research said, this unprecedented level of change, “blew my mind.”
“These are environmental conditions that are not experienced anywhere on the planet at the moment,” he told the Guardian. “That means there will be new political challenges, new infrastructure challenges, that we have not faced before.”
For the cities mentioned above, rainfall will pose a significant problem, and extreme flooding to become more common, with more severe and frequent droughts.
Crowther said: “We are absolutely not prepared for this. Planning for climate change needs to start yesterday. The sooner it starts, the less the impact will be.”
Richard Betts, a professor of climate impacts at Exeter University and head of the climate impacts strategic area at the Met Office Hadley Centre, who was not involved in the research, said: “Without the benefit of knowing that the new climate conditions are already liveable somewhere in the world, it is harder to know whether people will be able to adapt and stay in these cities, or whether they will eventually look to move elsewhere.”
Experts are highly concerned about the lack of preparedness of the world for the global warming effects. Last week, Mami Mizutori, the UN secretary general’s special representative on disaster risk reduction, told the Guardian that disasters linked to climate crisis were occurring at the rate of one per week; however, countries were still not investing in more resistant urban infrastructure.
A report of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change published on Wednesday said the government was entirely unprepared for the likely consequences of the climate crisis. Lord Deben, the Chairman, was found comparing preparations to the ramshackle troops’ efforts in Dad’s Army, the classic British comedy.
The new research considered one of the central forecasts of a temperature rise of 2C above pre-industrial levels by 2050 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as its baseline, however, it was way too optimistic if we consider the current course of greenhouse gas emissions.
London homeowners might need to think again who relish the prospect of a Catalan climate. Mike Lockwood, a professor of space environment physics at Reading University, who was not part of the research team, said: “Bringing Barcelona’s climate to London sounds like it could be a good thing, if you don’t suffer from asthma or have a heart condition – except London clay shrinks and is brittle if it gets too dry, then swells and expands when very wet. The greater swings in ground moisture expected in a warmer world would cause massive subsidence problems.”
The paper wants to illustrate the dangers the world faces as a result of the climate emergency. “History has repeatedly shown that data and facts alone do not inspire humans to change their beliefs or act,” said Jean-François Bastin, the lead author of the paper. “The intangible nature of reporting on climate change fails to adequately convey the urgency. It is hard to envisage how 2C of warming, or changes in average temperature by 2100, might impact on daily life.”
Friederike Otto, the deputy director of the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University, who was not involved in the research, warned that it should be regarded “as an illustration only, not a prediction,” because of the number of variables involved. “It is a useful way to start thinking outside the box, but it does not show London’s future. It could well be that rainfall in winter changes in London in the opposite way to Barcelona.”
Mike Childs, the head of science at Friends of the Earth, said policymakers must take note. “What’s great about this report is that it starkly shows what living in cities will be like if the inertia of governments on climate breakdown continues,” he said. “Young people are taking to the streets to stop their futures being wrecked through inaction on the climate crisis, but this analysis demonstrates that anyone under 50 should be equally concerned that urban living could be intolerable by 2050. Governments have no excuse for further inaction.”