A team of experts from the BBC has created a detailed rendering of all the available data regarding temperatures in big cities and the effects of climate change. Data collected from around a thousand of big cities across the globe is now available for the public thanks to the BBC. The new app offers you a spinning globe on which you can locate your city and explore its changes in its local climate. You can also explore the temperature that is predicted for the future periods in the area you select. Also, the app features a user-friendly dropbox section in which you can find the city you wish to explore.
The Alarming Data
Our planet is already alarmingly hot. Since the climate records exist, we never encountered such a climate crisis as we have faced during the past decade. Experts warn us that we must keep the global temperature at bay to avoid dire consequences. It mustn’t rise over 1.5 degrees if we want to give our planet a chance. But can we do that? Data shows us that our global temperature has already risen about one degree since the mentioned warning was issued.
Scientists are now warning the world that any further rise in global temperature can cause a chain of negative and dangerous consequences. Among the worst consequences are extreme sea-level rises, climate-induced migrations of millions, droughts, heavy rains, heatwaves, and endangerment of agriculture in general. There is a possibility that we will not be able to grow crops anymore like we used to — production of wheat, rice, and maize could be in serious danger. According to the data available so far, if we keep up with the same practice and attitude towards global warming, the global temperature may increase by 3 to 5 degrees in the next 80 years.
What Can We Expect?
What does global warming have in store for us? What can we experience if we don’t change anything in our behavior? Let’s explore scenarios that are waiting for us around the corner if we don’t slow the global temperature rise.
New York City
In the case that we don’t act now, New York can suffer extreme consequences. About a quarter of New York could be completely flooded in the next 30 to 50 years, experts warn. A quarter of this city is inhabited by around a million people. Also, climate changes can cause more hurricanes and floods in New York City area. This big city’s location makes it very vulnerable to the impacts of negative climate changes.
The rate of the warming of the Arctic is double the one of most parts of the world. Due to this high vulnerability, this polar region serves as a great illustration for the future global warming consequences that will occur in the other areas of the planet. The sea ice in this polar region melts during the summer period and then freezes over during the winter period. The extreme rise in the air and water temperature in the Arctic has now caused a decline in the sea ice levels. The ice in the Arctic Ocean now melts extremely faster than it can freeze during the winter period.
Jakarta is now one of the world’s cities with the highest sinking rates. The city is inhabited by around 10 million people. The north part of Jakarta now has a sinking rate of 25 cm per year. Seventeen small artificial islands and 32 km of sea walls are now being built to save the city. Unfortunately, experts explain that these measures are not the final solution. Other cost cities around the world share a similar fate as an alarming rise in sea level is recorded in multiple locations.
What Can BBC Team Reveal to Us?
On the BBC website, you can now explore all the available data on changes in the global temperature. There is a list of thousands of major cities, and you can see how much the temperature in these cities has risen in the past decade in comparison to the end of the 19th century. The BBC globe shows you how much temperatures were higher during July 2019 than during the last decade of the 19th century. You can spin their globe and learn the average increase in temperature for all areas of the world.
How Were the Values Calculated?
The data for every city is based on the average temperature for the area. This means that nearby cities (cities from the same small area) would demonstrate the identical data. Also, the data on monthly temperatures were taken from Berkeley Earth. In the case that there was any data insufficiency for a certain location, the average values based on the nearby locations were applied.
The BBC wanted to provide the public with actual temperatures rather than with anomalies. That’s why they calculated the average temperatures (monthly averages) for the period between 1981 and 2010 for every location with a little help of the ERA-Interim dataset. Afterward, they added the Berkeley Earth anomalies. This way, they were able to calculate the actual temperatures for every city in every year.
What About the Projections?
For the temperature projections, the BBC used the temperature data produced by computer simulations. These climate models offer insight into how greenhouse gases affect the atmosphere, land, oceans, ice, and plants. They are various scenarios that our planet can face — which one of them will occur depends solely on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
How Accurate Are These Predictions?
We can never look at any predictions as an absolute certainty. Even the modern readings of temperature can have some imperfections. Scientists sometimes need to “polish” the data to solve issues caused by the lack of information. Now, these future projections depend on multiple factors such as the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere and the renderings of its effect on climate. The BBC team mostly relied on average values of available data to calculate these predictions.
The new BBC simulation app is a great tool that can introduce important global warming facts to the public. People can now explore the data from their regions and see predictions for various areas of the world. Even though we are all aware of the alarming global warming consequences, apps like this one can paint a clear picture of the current situation that can hopefully raise more awareness than all the news and published works have done. Everything somehow becomes more real when you can simulate the horrible scenarios with just one click! Our planet is already in a critical state, and any activism is more than welcome. The public should learn about data, see the predictions, and be familiar with all possible scenarios that might await us.