Climate Change

Climate change: These cities are on track for extreme conditions by 2050

Manila city skyline during daytime.

Cities are expected to experience hotter conditions and less precipitation. Image: Unsplash/Alexes Gerard

Katharina Buchholz
Data Journalist, Statista
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Climate Change

  • Cities around the world are becoming hotter and drier due to climate change.
  • This is putting many on track to experience climate conditions by 2050 unlike anything seen before in cities, according to a new study.
  • Extreme heat coupled with less rain will be the new norm for many cities in South East Asia.
  • Manila in the Philippines will be almost 4°C hotter and Rangoon in Myanmar is expected to be almost 6°C hotter.
  • Rain levels could decrease by more than a tenth in Hiroshima, Taipei and Macau.

Due to climate change, cities around the world are getting hotter and drier – now a new study claims that an array of cities will experience climate conditions never before seen in any major city by 2050. This list includes Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Rangoon, Manila and Singapore.

The researchers from the Department of Environmental Systems Science in Zurich, Switzerland, calculated that completely novel conditions will be the case for 22 percent out of the world’s 500 major cities. For many cities in South East Asia, brutal heat coupled with less rain will be the new norm, while other cities may also encounter novel conditions because of significantly increased rain levels.

Manila, for example, will be almost 4°C hotter on average during summer, but also experience 8 percent less rain during an average year. In Rangoon in Myanmar, summer temperatures will be close to 6°C hotter while the city will lose 6.5 percent of its yearly precipitation, making it one of the cities rated to grossly diverge from known city climates in the future.

Other cities will come to resemble cities elsewhere more closely. Extreme dry spells could haunt Hiroshima, Taipei and Macau in the future, with rain levels decreasing by up to 13 percent. Central Asian cities will not experience major shifts in rain patterns, but major temperature increases of 6°C and more. Because of this, Tashkent could feel more like Middle Eastern cities Mosul or Irbil, while Baghdad is expected to feel like Kuwait City by 2050. Kathmandu will be wetter (as well as hotter) and therefore feel more like Dhaka, Bangladesh.


What’s the World Economic Forum doing about climate change?

Projected average temperature increase/precipitation decrease in selected Asian cities until 2050.
Tehran is projected to have the greatest average temperature increase of 6.2 degrees Celcius. Image: Jean-Francois Bastin et al. Understanding climate change from a global analysis of city analogues, Plos One journals
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