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Greenwich Park in the summer
Photograph: Pajor Pawel/

London could have a Mediterranean climate by 2050 – and no, that’s not good news

By Rosie Hewitson

As much as any true Londoner will jump at the chance to immediately sink a four-pack in the nearest park whenever the temperature creeps above 20C, for many of us the warm weather of recent summers is also a startling reminder of impending doom.

And so it should be, because in 30 years London will have a climate similar to that of Barcelona today, according to new research by the Crowther Lab in Zurich.

According to the interactive world map created by researchers, the average annual temperature in London will go up by 2.1C, and the maximum temperature of the warmest month in the year is likely to increase by a pretty scorching 5.9C. So last July’s peak temperature of 34C could be more like 40C.

And while a Mediterranean climate may sound pretty fabulous when you’re soaking up the rays from a rooftop bar, researchers also warn that this is likely to be accompanied by severe droughts comparable to the one seen in Barcelona in 2008, when the government was forced to spend millions importing drinking water. So finding a sunny spot to drink your Aperol Spritz is going to be the least of your worries.

Of course, London isn’t the only city expected to suffer potentially disastrous consequences as a result of global heating. The research indicates that 80 percent of cities globally will undergo dramatic changes in climate, while a worrying 104 cities are forecast to experience climates that have not yet been seen at all in a major city.

The lab’s founder, Tom Crowther, told The Guardian that ‘we are absolutely not prepared’ for these dramatic changes. ‘Planning for climate change needs to start yesterday,’ he added. ‘The sooner it starts, the less the impact will be.’

So there’s a cheerful thought for next time you’re getting the pints in at your local beer garden.

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