Whether they realize it or not, an estimated 7.6 billion people — 96 percent of humanity — have experienced the temperature effects of global warming in the past 12 months, researchers say.
But some regions felt it much more acutely and more frequently than others, according to the report, based on peer-reviewed methods from Climate Central, a of climate science think tank.
People in tropical regions and small islands surrounded by heat-absorbing oceans have been disproportionately affected by human-caused warming to which they have contributed little.
Among the 1,021 cities analyzed between September 2021 and October 2022, the capitals of Samoa and Palau in the South Pacific felt the most visible climate footprints, according to the researchers’ report published on Thursday.
The probability of temperature spikes in these places is usually four to five times higher than in a hypothetical world where global warming never happened.
Lagos, Mexico City and Singapore were among the worst-hit major cities, with man-made heat increasing health risks to millions.
Climate Central researchers, led by Chief Scientist Ben Strauss, looked for a way to bridge the gap between planetary-scale global warming, which is usually expressed as the Earth’s mean surface temperature compared to the previous base period – to people’s everyday experience.
“The climate fingerprint diagnosis allows people to know that their experiences are a symptom of climate change,” Strauss told AFP. “This is a signal and shows that we have to adapt.”
Using seven decades of high-resolution daily temperature data from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and two dozen climate models, Strauss and his team created a tool called the Climate Change Index.
The tool calculates the probability of something unusual warm weather in a particular location on any given day due to climate change.
For example, 26 cities experienced an increase in temperature on at least 250 of the 365 days since October 2021, which was at least three times more likely due to climate change.
“Unjust and Tragic”
Most of these cities were located in East Africa, Mexico, Brazil, small island states, and the Malay Archipelago, a chain of about 25,000 islands owned by Indonesia and the Philippines.
“The effect of warming is much more pronounced in the equatorial belt because there has historically been less variability in temperature,” Strauss told AFP.
That’s why even relatively modest increases in local temperatures caused by global warming are reflected so clearly in the index, he explained.
“The temperature of islands is highly dependent on the temperature of the ocean around them,” said Strauss, who also mapped the projected impacts of sea-level rise on coastal areas around the world.
“To see that small island states have essentially already lost their historic climate — even as they face the loss of their land due to rising seas — is deeply unfair and tragic.”
The urgent need for money to help vulnerable tropical countries adapt to climate impacts will be openly discussed when nearly 200 countries meet in 10 days for United Nations climate talks in Egypt.
Rich nations have yet to fulfill a decade-old pledge to increase climate finance for developing countries to $100 billion a year, despite the UN climate advisory groupThe IPCC estimates that annual adaptation costs could reach $1 trillion by 2050 if warming continues at a rapid pace.
A map-based climate change index tool can be found here: csi.climatecentral.org/csi-con … map/tavg/2022-10-27/
© 2022 AFP
Citation: Global Warming Palpable to 96% of Humans: Study (2022, October 28) Retrieved October 28, 2022, from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-global-palpable-humans.html
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