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8 Jul, 2017

UN agency launches video to ‘forecast’ visual impact of climate change on global cities

United Nations, (UN News Centre) 5 July 2017 – In a year already marked by heatwaves and new daily temperature records, the United Nations weather agency and television weather anchors have joined forces to create video forecasts that explore how climate change would make future summers even hotter in major cities of the world.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Climate Central, a research and communications organization based in the United States, invited weather presenters from a dozen countries to work with meteorological services and other national experts to explore the implications.

A girl enjoying water fountains amid city summer heat. Photo: WMO

“What the weather presenters have created are only possible scenarios, and not true forecasts. Nevertheless, they are based on the most up-to-date climate science, and they paint a compelling picture of how climate change may impact daily life in cities where most of the world’s population lives,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a press release.

Cities featured in the “Summer in the City” videos include Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Frankfurt, Hanoi, Havana, Kampala, Madrid, Montreal, Nairobi, Paris, Sofia and Tokyo.

If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, the Earth’s average global surface temperature could rise more than 4 degrees Celsius or 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century, according to WMO.

TV weather presenters used two different climate change scenarios – high emissions and moderate emissions – and matched each selected city with a city that already experiences such temperatures.

For instance, in 2100, the citizens of Paris, where daily summer high temperatures now average 22.7 degrees Celsius, may see summer high temperatures hit 29.2 degrees Celsius as experienced today in Fez, Morocco.

Climate Central has posted an interactive map to visualize these match-ups.

Many of the assessed cities could see their maximum daily temperatures in summer rise by as much as 6 to 9 degrees Celsius.

“Urban warming could be double that of surrounding areas due to the presence of stone materials and paved roads. This would lead in particular to higher night-time temperatures,” said Mr. Taalas.

“The enhanced heat – and an expected increase in associated extreme weather like summer storms – will have major implications for energy and water supplies, public health and transportation. More intense heatwaves would also often lead to poorer air quality, which can even be lethal,” he added.

The videos are posted on the WMO YouTube channel.

In a similar exercise, WMO previously worked with some 60 weather presenters on “Weather Reports from the year 2050.”