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World's future climate change hotspots mapped

World's future climate change ...
Global warning: Climate change, "it is a problem," says Professor Tomasz Stepinski
Global warning: Climate change, "it is a problem," says Professor Tomasz Stepinski
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The map draws on historic data and future projections
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The map draws on historic data and future projections
Global warning: Climate change, "it is a problem," says Professor Tomasz Stepinski
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Global warning: Climate change, "it is a problem," says Professor Tomasz Stepinski
A climatogram for Vicenza, Italy – Cincinnati's climatic twin
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A climatogram for Vicenza, Italy – Cincinnati's climatic twin
A climatogram of Cincinnati, generated by the map
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A climatogram of Cincinnati, generated by the map
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A new interactive online map highlights the places which could be hardest hit by climate change in the future. The map is accessible to anyone with an internet connection and can be used to compare climates of different locations around the world. Its creators say it could help predict places where extreme weather events like tornadoes could happen in the future, even if there haven't been many in the past.

The map is called ClimateEx, and it is based on around 50 years of weather data from 50,000 weather stations around the world. It also uses projected data as far forward as the year 2070. Both the historic and future data comes from the WorldClim database of global climate data.

The map draws on historic data and future projections
The map draws on historic data and future projections

This data is laid over a grid 4 sq km (1.5 sq miles) in size, which can be panned and zoomed to find locations of interest. Though not all that easy to use, the map lets viewers compare the climates of different places, using colour to show similar areas. It reports both temperature and precipitation, and lets viewers see which parts of the world have been most seriously affected by climate change over time, and which are likely to be in the future. Historically, these areas include the Arctic, and regions near to the equator where rainfall has varied significantly.

"The map demonstrates climate change over time but also climate diversity. The concept is powerful and can inspire a lot of research," says Tomasz Stepinski, a geography professor at the University of Cincinnati and the creator of the map. "When people think about climate change, they think about temperature: global warming. But climate has many components, including precipitation. People often consider temperature and precipitation separately. But our mathematical model includes both."

Researcher Pawel Netzel, who worked with Stepinski on the project, thinks it could have a role in strategic planning. "It helps to prepare for emerging threats such as increasing the frequency or appearance of extreme weather phenomena," he says. "Knowledge about the possibility of hazards will give city planners time to prepare appropriate response plans."

A climatogram for Vicenza, Italy – Cincinnati's climatic twin
A climatogram for Vicenza, Italy – Cincinnati's climatic twin

Stepinski also hopes the map could be useful to people planning vacations or moving home, but he's very serious on the subject of climate change. "The climate is always changing," he explains. "But it usually changes on a geological timescale. It's not surprising that the climate today is different from the climate a half-million years ago. But now we're experiencing changes on a scale of 100 years. That's a completely different thing.

"If you were looking at climate change at a scale of a million years, you wouldn't worry too much," he adds. "But if you see dramatic changes on the order of a few decades, it's a big problem. Personally I'm not happy there are people who seem to disregard this as not much of a problem. It is a problem."

The pair's work appears in this month's Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. You can view the map on the University of Cincinnati website.

Source: The University of Cincinnati

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11 comments
Bob
Sounds like another scam. No climate model can ever predict more than a few days into the future. Will there be more tornadoes and hurricanes in the future? Of course there will and they will be in the same places they have been before. Given the increase in population and construction in vulnerable areas, the damage and loss of life will increase. Global warming is the least of our worries. Overpopulation, ethnic violence, wars and the resulting disease and famine are a far greater threat. Still, the global warming scammers will try to profit from it all instead of doing much worthwhile.
BobMunck
Bob: "No climate model can ever predict more than a few days into the future." "Bob" doesn't seem to know what a climate model is.
RolandReagan
Rather than worry about the climate heating up we better be concerned about the climate getting colder. The sun is going through a Maunder like minimum which may have ushered in the Little Ice Age. Cold weather kills a lot more folks than hot weather.
Muzza4
Worryingly my country isn't even on the map. Is that good or bad?
Joshua Tulberg
This dude must have his heart broken every time he clicks to view the comments and sees they are filled with denial. Nothing quit like working your butt off collecting mountains of data just to have the population say "naw". Maybe climate scientists should take a break from all the data-crunching, research, and analysis to simply spread some shame in the comment section.
Bob
I assure you "Bob" knows what a climate model is. It is just an extension of trying to predict the weather patterns from past data which they can't do for more than a few days into the future. Just like other so called "scientific" models, it is only accepted if it confirms pre-assumed ideas. It is not proof of anything. We won't know if it was valid for another 50 years. Odds are it will prove to be less than 50% accurate or less than flipping a coin. A large volcanic eruption, limited nuclear war, solar flare up or change in ocean currents could turn everything upside down in very short order. The climate pendulum swings back and forth. Theoretically, over time warmer air should hold more moisture which will result in more snow at the upper latitudes which will eventually bring on the next ice age. I suppose none of you noticed the basis of this map where "...future data comes from the WorldClim database of global climate data." "Future data" is just another set of assumptions and not PROOF.
RXStephen
OMG New Zealand has been totally annihilated!
Readout Noise
Bob: "I assure you "Bob" knows what a climate model is. It is just an extension of trying to predict the weather patterns from past data which they can't do for more than a few days into the future". Sorry Bob, but you've just doubled-down on proving that you really don't know what a climate model is. Climate is not weather, and does not determine short-term weather patterns "a few days into the future". Just as there are sound statistical medium and long term analyses of the stock market, but nobody can tell you what any given share price will do tomorrow. Bob: "Just like other so called "scientific" models, it is only accepted if it confirms pre-assumed ideas". Not "ideas" Bob, but empirical data and well understood physical processes. There is nothing "pre-assumed" about data: it is what it is, independent of what we might want it to be. Scientific models gain, and sustain, acceptance only by (1) explaining existing data/observations (2) making testable predictions about new measurements (3) being scientifically and mathematically consistent. There are no other criteria.
Bob
Obviously, there are more knowledgeable people on here than I. With degrees in chemistry, physics, mathematics and extensive computer programing experience plus 31 years of developing scientific instruments along with OE and WDXRF spectrographic analysis methods plus using most of the standard statistical tools, I have made a number of observations. First, I have never seen truly unbiased data. Second, I have always been amazed that so many people think the math purifies that biased data. Third, that the old saying about lies and statistics is absolutely true. Fourth, that so many people are so easily fooled by someone who dazzles them with charts and statistics which were purposely manipulated to sell something. I still remember the "great scientists" I talked with that bragged their model perfectly fit the data they were working with. It was an eighth order set of equations where any data always fit the model with nearly 100% accuracy no matter what was input. The results meant absolutely nothing.
ljaques
Let me get this straight: The folks who can't predict tomorrow's weather, and whose computer models can't tell what the weather or climate were in the past (even given =all= the data), and whose computer models are constantly getting more datasets added which continue to refine the models (plural, since they can't agree on the data or the algorithms, either), are going to tell us what areas =might= experience harsher climate change in the future? Bwahahahahaha! Let me give them a hint: All areas will slowly experience higher temps until Mother Earth decides it's time to reverse her trend and head toward another ice age, after which she will reverse herself and do it all over again, etc. Postmodernist neoMarxism is a much more real and present danger to us all.