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London to be as hot as Barcelona by 2050? I research urban heat, and I’m sceptical

Barcelona just had a week of temperatures above 30℃. It’s a few degrees hotter than the long-term average, but no heatwave.

In winter, Spain’s second largest city is typically a mild 15℃ or so. With its climate regulated by warm Mediterranean waters, temperatures rarely drop below freezing.

Is this what the future holds for London? One group of scientists certainly thinks so. In a new study, they have tried to convey the risks of global warming by finding the closest modern-day climates to describe what the future might be like for certain cities. They predict that, for instance, Madrid’s climate in 2050 will be like Marrakech’s climate now, Seattle will resemble San Francisco, Stockholm will feel like Budapest, and that London will become like Barcelona.

It makes sense to focus on cities as they are literally “hot-spots” of climate risk due to their dense populations, concentration of assets and susceptibility to extreme weather. Getting this message across to city managers and vulnerable communities is not always easy...

Rob Wilby, is a Professor of Hydroclimatic Modelling, in the University's School of Social Sciences. He discusses a new study which claims that London is to be as hot as Barcelona by 2050.

Prof Wilby has researched urban heat and is sceptical. He believes that pairing cities to gain like-for-like comparisons is too simplistic. 
 
Read the full Conversation article here

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