Climate change will affect cities more than the countryside

heat wave produced by climate change

Climate change has different effects in different places. Typically these changes in effects vary on a large scale or by altitude / latitude on the globe. Generally, climate change has the effect of increasing temperatures, but this increase will not be the same in all places.

According to a study, the increase in temperatures will affect cities more than in natural environments and that, if the current rate of increase continues, the impact of heat waves on cities could multiply by four. Do you want to know more about this research?

Effect of rising temperatures

heat waves are stronger in cities than in natural environments

The study on how temperatures will affect cities and natural environments has been carried out by the University of Leuven (Belgium) and they have had quite solid conclusions that they have presented at the assembly that the European Union of Geosciences holds in Vienna.

One of the main authors of the research on temperatures called Hendrik wouters has stated that the negative effects of climate change in terms of temperatures will be twice as serious in cities as in natural areas.

It is already known from previous research that the effect of higher temperatures is greater in cities than in rural settings. Especially at night there is the “heat island” effect, which is the rise of the hot air trapped on the surface of the sidewalks and the asphalt that causes an increase in temperatures. What makes this study revolutionary is to quantify for the first time to what extent cities will have higher temperatures.

Consequences of global warming in cities

high temperatures in cities

There are studies that show that heat waves are increasing in cities, both in frequency and intensity. With the heat wave, hospital admissions due to dehydration increase, productivity decreases, damage to infrastructure increases and in the most extreme cases, death cases increase.

In this study, researchers have conducted analyzes of how the effects of heat waves interact in cities and natural environments. For this, they have used temperature measurements from the last 35 years in Belgium and compared it with the frequency and intensity with which the temperature limits have been exceeded. These limits mark the damage that is caused both to health and to everything mentioned above.

As a result, it can be observed that during the period studied, heat waves have been much more intense in cities than in the countryside. This is expected to worsen in the future.

Next future

the future is predicted with more heat waves

Once they have obtained the conclusions of the investigations, they have dedicated themselves to making estimates about what will happen in the future. Estimates are based on simulations made through computer-generated models. These estimates foresee that for the period 2041-2075 the impact of heat in cities it will be four times greater than in the field.

The researchers clarify that these estimates correspond to a medium scenario and recognize that there are numerous factors that can affect the calculation, such as a drastic drop in greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere or a slowdown in the growth of cities.

The worst situation for extreme heat waves would be an increase in alert levels to 10 degrees and would last for 25 days in the summer. However, if greenhouse gas emissions were reduced, it would be similar to now.

With all this, an attempt is made to refer to the need that exists for cities to redesign their structure and management based on climate change. For example, with a vertical city design, reducing greenhouse gas emissions or using less polluting infrastructure. They are guidelines to reduce the effects of heat waves.

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