According to the study, published in the scientific journal Plos One, 77 percent of the world's cities will experience serious climate change over the next 30 years.
In practical terms, this means that the climate of cities in the northern hemisphere will be similar to that of cities around 620 miles (1,000 km) further south, with Edinburgh heating up to Paris temperatures by 2050, London being as hot as present day Barcelona and St Petersburg being as warm as Sofia in Bulgaria.
To display these findings by Zürich Technical University, Switzerland's Crowther Lab created a global data map that looks at 520 cities, predicting what a their climates will be in 2050 by comparing them to the current climate in a different city.
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Researches chose to present their work in this way because as the climate crisis requires unified action across all groups in society, it is important that everyone understands it. They believe that by comparing current climate with those in other cities, the reality of climate change will be easier to grasp, inspiring behavioural change.
“If carbon emissions remain unabated, the Earth will be 1.5 degrees warmer by 2100 and the costs of climate change under a business as usual scenario will exceed $12 trillion by 2050,” say researchers, warning that there remain only 11 years until the climate reaches the point of no return.
Spain experienced record-breaking temperatures this summer. Photo: AFP
In Europe, especially, temperatures throughout the year will increase. According to the researchers’ findings, temperature will increase by 3.5 degrees in winter and 4.7 degrees in summer compared with 2000 – and that’s a conservative estimate.
Madrid summer temperatures to increase by 6.4 degrees
By 2050, the hottest temperature in the warmest month in Madrid is likely to increase by 6.4 degrees, with an annual change of 2.1 degrees; a similar climate to the present-day Morrocan cities of Fez or Maarrakesh.
This Moroccan cities climate resembles that of Andalusia. Located north east of the Atlas Mountains, Fez experiences hot, dry Mediterranean summers, although it does get cooler and wetter during winter, with temperatures dropping to around 11 degrees.
Tropical regions are expected to see less significant changes in climate, but more various in precipitation, with wet months being 5 percent wetter and dry months being 14 percent drier. Droughts are likely to become more severe.
This change in climate is expected to have serious consequences for cities, consequences which will require new solutions. The effects of climate change have, in fact, already made themselves apparent with, for example £22m of drinking water had to be transported into Barcelona due to extreme drought in 2008. Scenarios such as this are likely to become more frequent unless serious action is taken.
By Alice Huseyinoglu