This Is How Cli­mate Change

The Miracle - - Town News - By Brian Kahn

S um­mers around the world are al­ready warmer than they used to be, and they’re go­ing to get dra­mat­i­cally hot­ter by cen­tury’s end if car­bon pol­lu­tion con­tin­ues to rise. That prob­lem will be felt most acutely in cities. The world’s rapidly grow­ing pop­u­la­tion cou­pled with the ur­ban heat is­land ef­fect — which can make cities up to 14°F (7.8°C) warmer than their leafy, ru­ral coun­ter­parts — add up to a recipe for dan­ger­ous and po­ten­tially deadly heat. Cur­rently, about 54 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion lives in cities, and by 2050 the ur­ban pop­u­la­tion is ex­pected to grow by 2.5 bil­lion peo­ple. As those cities get hot­ter, weather pat­terns may shift and make ex­treme heat even more com­mon. That will in turn threaten pub­lic health and the econ­omy. p to a dozen cities will heat up so much, their summers will have no ana­log cur­rently on Earth. Khar­toum, Su­dan’s av­er­age sum­mer tem­per­a­ture is pro­jected to sky­rocket to 111.4°F (44.1°C) if car­bon pol­lu­tion con­tin­ues unchecked. That shift un­der­scores that un­less car­bon pol­lu­tion is curbed, the planet could be headed to­ward a state hu­mans have never ex­pe­ri­enced. Re­duc­ing car­bon emis­sions still means tem- per­a­tures will rise in cities (and ev­ery­where else). In Khar­toum, mod­er­ate cuts mean the city’s sum­mer av­er­age high is pro­jected to top out at 106.9°F (41.6°C), a high that is still hot (as hot as Riyadh, Saudi Ara­bia to be ex­act) but at least of-this-planet hot. Deal­ing with less ex­treme heat makes adap­ta­tion eas­ier and less ex­pen­sive, and given that choice, per­haps it’s no sur­prise cities are lead­ing the charge on cli­mate change. They face the worst impacts of ex­treme heat and are home to bil­lions. That’s why thou­sands of may­ors from around the world have banded to­gether and pledged to re­duce their emis­sions. That in­cludes mul­ti­tudes of U.S. cities com­mit­ting to meet the Paris Agree­ment goals af­ter Pres­i­dent Trump an­nounced he was pulling the U.S. from the pact, and even more am­bi­tious moves like Oslo’s pledge to nearly zero its emis­sions by 2030. WMO and Cli­mate Cen­tral are launch­ing a se­ries of cli­mate re­ports by TV weather pre­sen­ters from across the world. The first videos are from Barcelona, Madrid and Hanoi. Oth­ers will roll out in the com­ing weeks. Cli­mate Cen­tral’s James Bron­zan con­trib­uted data anal­y­sis for this story. Posted in Cli­mate Statis­tics, Trends, Pro­jec­tions, Cli­mate, Ex­tremes, Heat, Weather, Extr

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