Lahore, Pakistan, is a historic city in the northeastern part of the country and sits squarely in the Middle East, near Afghanistan, Iran, and India. It’s the second-largest city in Pakistan, and the summers there routinely see temperatures climb to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
New analysis from Climate Central, a consortium of independent climate scientists and journalists, suggests that if current emissions trends continue, summertime in Houston, Texas, will start looking a lot more like Lahore.
“The Shifting Cities project visually and vividly shows what a couple of degrees of warming means — it shifts you into a whole new climate,” said Bernadette Woods Placky, chief meteorologist at Climate Central and director of Climate Matters, the organization’s media resource program.
“A couple of degrees might not seem like a lot to many people since they experience that swing in temperature every day,” Woods Placky said. “But a couple of degrees shifts you into an entirely new climate zone, giving people a snapshot of what the future will look like unless we accelerate our emissions reductions.”
Climate Central projects average summer high temperatures at the end of the century and compared them to cities experiencing those same summer temperatures today. For example, summers in London in 2100 will feel more like those in Milan today if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t reduced.
Shifting U.S. Cities is similar to the Global Shifting Cities report that Climate Central released in 2017 and a report by Carbon Brief in 2018. It demonstrates that average summer highs in 247 cities across the United States could increase by more than nine degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.
“And this analysis only accounts for daytime summer heat — the hottest temperatures of the day, on average between June-August — and doesn’t incorporate humidity, which contributes to how uncomfortable summer heat can feel,” Climate Central said on its website.
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As average highs increase, so too will the frequency of extreme heat events, like the historic heat waves that gripped the Pacific Northwest in 2021, or the Middle East in June and in Europe in recent days.
According to the report, the six largest U.S. cities — with a combined population of about 19 million — will see an increase of summer temps of at least five degrees by 2100, according to Climate Central’s projections:
• New York City is projected to warm by 7.6 degrees F, with summers like present-day Columbia, S.C.