Berlin could regularly receive temperatures as high as those in the Australian capital of Canberra in the future, new research by ETH Zurich has found.
By 2050 the maximum temperature in the warmest month in Berlin will likely increase by 6.1C, researchers say. That means the German capital will see a mean annual increase of 1.8C, making the climate most similar to current day Canberra.
Scientists say Paris and Lyon will both be at hot as Australian capital Canberra by 2050, while Marseille will have a climate similar to current-day Algiers.
The data models the maximum temperature of the warmest month for a city, plus the average temperature for the year.
So for Paris the prediction is for a rise of 6.1C for the warmest day and a 1.4C rise to the average annual temperature.
Last month's heatwave saw temperatures of 39C recorded in Paris with a 'feels like' temperature of 41 due to the heat sink effect. So based on this model, Paris could be seeing temperatures of 45.1C – feeling like 47.1C – by 2050.
In Lyon the hottest temperature is forecast to rise by 6.7C and the average by 1.8C, while Marseille is predicted to show a 5.2C rise for the hottest temperature and a 1.3C average rise, giving it a climate similar to the temperatures currently seen in Algiers.
According to the forecast London will be as hot as Barcelona, Manchester will have the climate of Montevideo in Uruguay, Leeds will feel like Melbourne in Australia and residents of Birmingham will feel like they are living in modern day Paris – only temperature-wise of course.
To illustrate the findings, the Crowther Lab in Switzerland created an interactive map that pairs one city’s future climate conditions with current ones.
In the southern European city of Spain things will feel even hotter with temperatures in 2050 akin to those of Marrakesh in Morocco today.
“The point of this paper is to try to allow everyone to get a better grasp on what's happening with climate change,” lead author Jean-François Bastin told AFP.
Bastin, who is from Belgium, told the news agency it was not certain that by 2060 his country would experience sub-zero temperatures in winter, a necessary condition for wheat seeds to become activated.
As summer temperatures surge, more people in northern Europe will purchase air conditioners, adding to the strain on electric grids and potentially creating a vicious cycle, he added.
But straight comparisons between cites do not tell the full picture of climate change, said Markku Rummukainen, a climate researcher with Swedish meteorological agency SMHI.
“Comparisons can give a sense of what changes to the climate mean. But at the same time, you should keep in mind that the changes are more complex than just the temperature. If you just think that Stockholm is getting a Budapest climate, you might think 'that doesn't sound so awful'. But in reality the problem is much more serious,” Rummukainen told Swedish news wire TT.
“When you get changes in climate, this can have effects on the buoyancy of the ground for example, flood risk and water resources, which can lead to further problems,” he added.