KL Is Expected To Have Severe Droughts And Extreme Rainfall By 2050

A study was conducted by Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and involved 520 major cities.

Cover image via New Straits Times (Edited by SAYS)

A study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland has projected dramatic changes in the world's major cities by 2050

Conducted by ETH Zurich's scientists, the study was published in a peer-reviewed science journal PLOS ONE on Wednesday, 10 July.

520 major cities were included in the study.

Using existing data of the the cities, the study evaluates the "global shifts in the climate conditions of cities by taking current climate data" and projects "what they will most closely resemble in 2050".

Image via PLOS ONE

The study projects that 115 of the cities, including Kuala Lumpur, will experience unprecedented climate conditions in 2050

These 'novel' cities will develop climate conditions that are unlike any other in current times.

"It means that there is no current match for the wide climate variations in temperatures, seasonality, and precipitation the city will experience," said ETH Zurich researcher Tom Crowther, reported National Geographic.

Four Malaysian cities were included in the study, namely Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Klang, and Johor Bahru.

The maximum temperature of the warmest month will see an increase between 2°C to 2.8°C, while the mean annual temperatures will see a change between 1.5°C to 2.3°C.

Cities located in tropical regions, which make up 64% of 'novel' climates, will see severe changes in rainfall and drier climates

A nearly dried up Sungai Golok during a heatwave.

Image via Sharifah Mahsinah Abdullah/New Straits Times

The study notes that although these cities will "experience smaller changes in average temperature", it will instead be dominated by shifts in rainfall regimes.

"This is characterised by both increases in extreme precipitation events (+5% rainfall wettest month) and, the severity and intensity of droughts (-14% rainfall driest month). With more severe droughts, tropical cities will move towards the subtropics, i.e. towards drier climates," the study said.

"However, the fate of major tropical cities remains highly uncertain because many tropical regions will experience unprecedented climate conditions."

In its conclusion, researchers stated their hopes that city planners will take note of the study's findings

Image via Crowther Lab

"These city analogues, and the data we openly share, can help land managers and city planners to visualise the climate futures of their respective cities, facilitating efforts to establish targeted climate response strategies," the researchers wrote.

See a visualisation of the results here.

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