How Extreme Weather Will Impact World's Major Cities


In the 2004 science fiction movie The Day After Tomorrow, climate change causes catastrophic events through extreme weather. Powerful tornadoes rip through Los Angeles, a giant snowstorm hits New Delhi, and a massive tidal wave hits Manhattan, causing extreme flooding. All of this makes for good popcorn munching, brought to us by Hollywood, but it can’t happen in real life… or can it?

A recent report by the UK’s National Weather Service takes a look at the potential impacts of climate change. Only through understanding these impacts, cites the study, is it possible to create adaptation strategies and actions to avoid such dangerous levels of climate change.

The National Weather Service analyzed over 20 countries and made observations and projections on the impacts of climate change. While the findings vary from region to region, the study found an overall increase in floods, extreme weather, and an increase in global temperatures if emissions are not reigned in.

If projections come true, coastal cities around the world will experience flooding usually found in disaster movies. New York City, San Francisco, Miami, and other coastal cities will find their streets filled with water ala Venice, if adequate measures to adapt to higher ocean levels and to slow global warming are not taken.

g-cans project - tokyoTokyo has already implemented one such adaptation measure to help mitigate damage caused by a massive rain storm or flooding. The Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel, also know as the G-Cans Project, is a massive series of concrete containment silos to store and pump out excessive water runoff from the city’s major waterways and rivers during typhoons or floods.

While the Tokyo G-Cans project is certainly impressive and, no doubt, will be extremely valuable as global warming continues to push up sea levels, it is doubtful that other coastal cities around the globe will have the budget or resources to undergo such a massive project.

The report from the UK’s National Weather Service clearly shows that simply driving a few more Toyota Prius’s and installing solar panels on our rooftops is not enough. It’s a step in the right direction, sure, but until our politicians can all come to an agreement that climate change is real, any hope of averting extreme weather and the subseqeuent consequences remains purely in Hollywood movies.

Photo Credits: Adam Kuban via Flickr and Dddeco via Wikipedia

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