[Image: Future climate map of Europe; the cities have been relocated based on what present locations their future climate will most resemble… or something like that].
Last week, the Guardian took a look at what London might look like in 2071. The city, they suggest, will be defined by “heat, dust, and water piped in from Scotland.”
To illustrate the point, that article includes a somewhat cryptic climate map, produced by scientists at the University of Bremen. The map relocates Europe’s capital cities to the present region that most closely resembles their impending future circumstances.
In other words, London, in 2071, will be more like a city on the coast of Portugal today; Paris will feel how central Spain now feels; Berlin, unbelievably, will be like north Africa (one of the coldest summers I’ve ever experienced was in Berlin) – and so on.
These regions are those cities’ “climate analogues.”
In any case, one of the scientists behind the map says that it’s also meant to “help architects and officials who plan buildings, streets and services to adapt to the likely impacts of global warming. ‘If you look at the map you see that Paris moves to the south of Spain. It’s scary that just a few degrees rise will make such a difference. Paris is currently designed to deal with a very different climate, which means designs in future will have to be very different.'”
For exameple: “Houses and buildings in northern Europe typically have windows to the west to make the most of meagre winter sun… ‘But in warmer countries you will never find windows to the west because the sun just pours in all afternoon during the summer.'”
What isn’t mentioned, however, is that architecture will have to change gradually, decade by decade, even year by year; after all, it’d be inappropriate to get rid of all west-facing windows today – and it might still be premature, come 2030 – but, by 2071, perhaps all west-facing windows will be entirely phased out… Or skylights, or rain catchment systems, or winter insulation, or whatever.
But you’ll be able to track changes in the European climate based on what styles of architecture still exist, and where.
Read more at the Guardian.
(Story originally spotted at Kottke).
2 thoughts on “London 2071”
What also isn’t mentioned is the effect of the Gulf Stream (except in a link at the bottom of the page), which is expected to shut down with a sufficient increase in global temperatures. Ironically, global warming would eventually cool Northern Europe- parts of the UK would be more like Siberia than Spain. Their scenario shows a temperature increase of 3-5°C for Britain with global warming, but the Gulf Stream currently increases temperatures there by 10°C.
This means that the architecture would not only have to gradually change in response to the warmer climate, but also anticipate a great drop in temperature, potentially quite sudden, once that tipping point is reached. The alternative is that London will be filled with Spanish-style architecture sitting on permafrost, abandoned.
I think the coolest thing though is that in the future, Oslo will be south of Stockholm, and again be closer to significant bodies of water.