Researchers show who faces the greatest impact of climate change

Researchers show who faces the greatest impact of climate change

A recent big study that scrutinized the diverse experiences of rising temperatures across demographics showed how different groups experience global warming.

The study shows that people in middle age, living in equatorial regions, have felt the strongest warming over their lives. But it’s concerning for young people in poorer countries, who might face big climate changes in their areas later in life, unless quick action happens against climate change.

To understand this complicated climate situation, the study combines temperature data and population info from around the world. It knows that not all temperature changes come from humans; natural fluctuations matter too.

These changes happen because of various things like solar energy shifts and ocean temperature changes. This unpredictability is bigger in some areas than others, because of how weather systems work.

To make sense of this, the study uses something called “signal-to-noise ratio,” which helps tell apart real climate change from natural changes. The less natural changes there are, the clearer the warming effects become. This approach shows that changes in places like Kinshasa have been larger than in New York over the past 50 years.

The study asks two main questions: first, how clearly can we see global warming in different places compared to natural changes; and second, where is this change most obvious over people’s lives?

Results show that the biggest warming happens in warm areas near the equator, including parts of Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia.

It might seem like poorer regions would feel this warming the most, but that’s not always true. The age of people matters. Some under-20s, especially in places like northern India and Sub-Saharan Africa, haven’t felt much warming due to natural differences and pollution cooling effects.

But it’s also tricky. Certain areas cooled down in the mid-1900s because of pollution. So, older people born before the 1950s felt less warming than those born later. This means people born in the 1960s and 1970s, now aged between 45 and 65, felt the most warming.

This matters a lot. It helps explain how people think about climate change, and it points out fairness issues. Rich countries need to act quickly. They’ve been responsible for most emissions, so they need to reduce them and help countries that are vulnerable to climate change.


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