Imagining what global warming will actually feel like for most of the world’s major cities is difficult, so a new study has sought to draw comparisons with other cities’ current climates to help with the visualisation of this scenario.

London could feel like Barcelona in 2050 as a new study draws comparisons with other cities’ current climates to help visualise global warming @crowtherlab Click To Tweet

Estimating that these cities will experience a 2°C temperature increase, the research conducted by the Crowther Lab offers up an interactive map, which shows that temperature changes look set to be the equivalent to a city moving 620 miles south, with the ones furthest away from the equator being the most affected.

The study found that cities in northern latitudes will experience the biggest shifts in temperature conditions. According to the research, in the near future London’s climate will resemble the current climate of Barcelona.

While at first this may sound like an attractive scenario, this change will bring with it a shift in conditions that we haven’t seen before.

In 2008 Barcelona suffered a drought so severe it was forced to import drinking water from France  – a move that cost £20 million. Barcelona’s municipal government has since implemented a series of smart initiatives to manage the city’s water resources, such as control of park irrigation and water fountain levels.

The researchers, who describe their research as ‘optimistic’, believe that water shortages will become the norm for London and cities in similar latitudes, so a level of preparedness is vital.

The report, which does not take into account extreme weather events, showed that Edinburgh’s climate will be more like that of Paris, Cardiff’s will feel more like Montevideo and in 2050 Leeds will feel more like Melbourne.

However, the analysis reveals that while 77% of the world’s major cities will change to such a great extent they will resemble the conditions of another major city, 22% of the world’s cities are likely to exist in a climatic regime that does not currently exist on the planet today.

While the northern hemisphere is predicted to get warmer, cities in the subtropics will get drier and have changing precipitation patterns.

The study found that tropical and subtropical cities are ‘extremely vulnerable’, and 30% of them will experience shifts into ‘entirely novel climate regimes with no existing analogues across the world’s major cities’.

This is an alarming scenario, particularly as the study states that it represents ‘conservative changes in climate conditions that are likely to offer even if substantial climate change mitigation occurs’.

According to the research: ‘these city analogues, and the data we openly share, can help land managers and city planners to visualise the climate futures of their respective cities, facilitating efforts to establish targeted climate response strategies’.

However, as more and more people join efforts to confront the climate catastrophe, brands can play an important part in engaging with this issue too. Leading the way in spreading awareness, and adopting strategies to reduce waste and use sustainable materials will prove to be the most positive stance to take.

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