New app allows users to explore how global warming changes their cities’ climate

Published by  Communications

On 10th Nov 2020

ESD research app in use on four different mobile phone screens

A new mobile app allows people to explore how global warming will affect the future climate of their towns and cities.

Developed by EarthSystemData Ltd with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia (UEA), the free to download ‘ESD Research’ app enables anyone anywhere to access the latest temperature and rainfall projections from the world’s top six most scientifically respected climate models.

The interactive simulations show the projected climate outcome of achieving the 2015 UN Paris Agreement ‘low CO2 emissions’ target of limiting global warming to below 2ºC by 2100. This is compared with a second scenario available in the app for ‘moderate’ emission levels, which envisages stabilisation of CO2 emissions around 2040, with no decline, where global temperatures reach approximately 4ºC by 2100.

The release of the app comes as the countdown begins to the UN Climate Change Conference - COP26 - due to have started in Glasgow this week but postponed to November 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Glasgow is where countries will agree their next round of emissions cuts, six years after the Paris Agreement.

“We want people to see for themselves what the best climate scientists and the best climate models show for the places in the world that they care about,” said Asher Minns, Executive Director at the Tyndall Centre. “The app ensures climate data is made accessible to global citizens without interpretation by politicians, media, campaigners or anyone else.

“Opinion polls across the world show that people are worried about climate change but rarely discuss it. The ESD Research app now supports these necessary conversations about where they live, whether with family, friends, colleagues or local government leaders.”

The Paris Agreement requires a global system-wide shift in how humanity makes and uses current and future energy so that there are zero CO2 emissions. 

It is also a challenging energy transformation, where every country enacts and achieves their emission pledges to the UN - the world average temperature has already risen by 1ºC compared to the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Climate scientist Dr Craig Wallace, previously of UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU), is the founder of EarthSystemData Ltd, which was set up to provide accessible web and app interfaces to display current and future climatic data and information. 

“Working on this app has enabled me to showcase some of the capabilities of EarthSystemData and we are very pleased to release this new, free, Apple and Android version for anyone who wants to download and explore data for anywhere in the world,” said Dr Wallace.

“We can now visualise any high quality global data including climate, health, income, demographics, anything that global citizens, businesses, policymakers, need to show or recall at the touch of their thumb.” 

Many cities are predicted to warm by approximately the same as the planet-average-warming by the end of the century - both in the low CO2 emissions and the moderate CO2 emissions projections. The warming in the Arctic could be more than double or more the planet average.

Examples of projected city warming under the two scenarios include:

  Low emissions Paris Agreement Moderate emissions peaking 2040
London, UK 1.5ºC 2.5ºC
Los Angeles, USA 1.7ºC 2.6ºC
Santiago, Chile 1.5ºC 2.8ºC
Sydney, Australia 1.5ºC 2.5ºC
New Delhi, India 1.5ºC 2.5ºC
St Petersburg, Russia 1.4ºC 4.4ºC
Dikson, Russian Arctic 5.0ºC 6.9ºC

Warming by 2071-2100 compared to 1981-2010. 

The ESD Research app uses climate change projections from the European Union ‘Crescendo’ Earth System model research project, funded by the Horizon 2020 programme. Output from these projections help form the latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment reports. For further details see: www.earthsystemdata.com/crescendo-project.

The app is available for smartphones and tablets via the AppleStore and Google Play.

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