- The Straits Times
In 30 years’ time, tropical cities like Singapore and Malaysia may have climates that no major city has experienced before, a scientific study claims.
This is based off temperature estimates for 520 major cities in the year 2050, according to calculations by researchers from the Crowther Lab, a Switzerland-based interdisciplinary climate research group.
To obtain these figures, the researchers used 19 different temperature and weather data variables, such as a city’s annual average temperature, its highest and lowest monthly temperature, and its highest and lowest monthly precipitation.
A “major city” was defined as either a country’s administrative capital, or a city with over one million residents. These included Singapore, Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Klang.
In general, the report said that most cities would see higher temperatures and a higher difference between the daily maximum and minimum temperature.
The climates in cities located in temperate regions would shift to resemble tropical climates.
Meanwhile, the climate in topical cities would shift toward drier climates, and be dominated by more extreme weather events, like severe rainstorms and droughts.
Over 20 per cent of the world’s cities were expected to experience never-before-seen climate conditions, with the majority of these located in the tropics.
The report specifically named places like Singapore, Kulala Lumpur, and Jakarta as cities at risk of these unprecedented climate conditions.
“The fate of major tropical cities remains highly uncertain,” it added.
Singapore’s climate to resemble KL, Tokyo’s climate to resemble Changsha
To give people an idea of how their city’s future climate might feel, researchers identified a current city that shared its projected climate.
The report found that London’s climate in 2050 would resemble Barcelona’s today, Madrid’s would resemble Marrakesh, Stockholm’s would resemble Budapest, and Tokyo’s would resemble Changsha.
Meanwhile, the average temperature in Singapore in 2050 would be 1.3 degrees higher, and resemble KL’s today, while KL’s average temperature was expected to rise by 2.3 degrees, giving it a climate similar to Indonesia’s Palembang.
JB’s future climate (+1.5 degrees) was expected to resemble the Indonesian city of Pekanbaru. Putrajaya’s (+1.8 degrees) would resemble Medan, while Klang’s climate (+1.8 degrees) would resemble Putrajaya’s currently.
The scientists added that while predicting the future climate in cities was not a new idea, equating them to the climate of current cities gave people a tangible idea of what their own climate future looked like.
“It is hard for most people to envision how an additional 2 degrees of warming might affect daily life,” the report said.
“[Pairing up the cities] is intended to capture people’s imagination… because iconic locations allow us to visualize the imminent changes that are likely to occur within our lifetimes.”
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