How Climate Change Is Raising Average Daily Temperature in Cities
Photo by Kuki Ladron de Guevara
25 November 2022 – by Heba Hashem
2022 is set to be one of the hottest years on record as average daily temperature soar across the globe. But, to what extent is this average temperature rise attributable to climate change?
The link between extreme weather events and climate change has been the subject of countless studies. For decades, scientists have struggled to understand how long-term changes in climate elements are affecting local weather patterns and temperature change.
Thanks to advances in climate change attribution science, we have reached a point where we can clearly see this relationship.
Tool for Measuring the Effect of Global Warming on Daily Average Temperatures
A new tool now provides real-time scores indicating how climate change affects daily temperatures worldwide. Launched by the U.S.-based Climate Central research group, the Global Climate Shift Index (CSI) measures the influence of human-caused climate change on local weather.
The index covers over 1,000 cities worldwide, given that more than half of the global population lives in urban areas.
Linking Climate Change to Average Daily Temperature
Much of the data related to climate change is already available. For example, we know how much carbon dioxide humans have released into the atmosphere since 1850 (2,500 billion metric tons). We also know how much global temperatures have increased since then (at least 1.1 degrees Celsius).
However, people don’t experience global average temperatures of 1 or 2 degrees, but they do experience everyday weather changes where they live.
“Being able to reliably detect the fingerprints of climate change in everyday weather, anywhere in the world, represents a vital advance in climate attribution science,” Dr. Andrew Pershing, director of climate science at Climate Central, said in a statement.
“This tool can help people to understand and talk about how the changing climate is shaping local weather as it happens,” he said.
Climate Central first launched the index in June 2022 for the U.S. before expanding it globally in October.
The index applies a five-point scale to indicate how much more likely daily high and low temperatures have become because of climate change. For example, a CSI level of 3 means the day’s temperature was made three times more likely.
Human-Driven Warming Impacting Everyone, Everywhere including Average Temperature
Almost everyone on the planet is experiencing global warming, according to Climate Central’s report based on the CSI data.
The analysis found that 7.6 billion people experienced changes in temperature due to climate change over the last year. That is 96% of the global population.
Moreover, at least 200 million people worldwide felt the impact of climate change on each of the 365 days.
Countries with the Strongest Impact of Climate Change
People living in cities near the equator and on small islands experienced the strongest influence. These regions include Mexico, Brazil, western and eastern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Malay Archipelago. The latter encompasses Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Papua New Guinea.
Over 100 cities were hot spots for human exposure, according to the report. When considering urban population size, Lagos, Mexico City and Singapore saw the biggest daily temperature changes caused by climate change.
Peak CSI days varied across regions. In Asia, for instance, it was on Aug. 9, 2022. This was around the time when many parts of the continent were dealing with catastrophic weather events.
Developing Nations See the Biggest Changes in Average Daily Temperatures
The analysis also found that many of the countries that did little to contribute to climate change felt the worst of its impacts over the last year.
This may not come as a surprise, but it supports the claim that developing countries have long made.
Vulnerable nations continue to demand climate justice and compensation for climate-induced economic losses. But, wealthier nations have so far refused to provide finance to address such loss and damage.
Access to reliable data on how climate change affects local weather patterns could go a long way towards changing this conversation. The link between climate change and extreme weather events will become indisputable as data becomes more available.
Such a proven connection could compel businesses and policymakers to do more for climate justice. Not only that, but it could ultimately persuade more people to make low-carbon choices and reduce their carbon footprints.