World Cup heat shows impact of climate change

World Cup heat shows impact of climate change
Photo: Markus Spiske - Unsplash

Research by American NGO Climate Central on the heat currently being faced by players in the 2022 World Cup has helped to demonstrate the impact of climate change on increasing the probability of unusually warm temperatures. 

An article by German newspaper Der Spiegel has pointed out that despite the fact that the stadiums are air conditioned and that the tournament is being played in the winter for the first time, teams competing in the World Cup in Qatar have regularly faced temperatures of over 30 celsius. According to an analysis by Climate Central, temperatures in the capital Doha over the past five days have been more than three degrees higher than usual at this time. The NGO claims that the chances of this unseasonably warm weather is twice as likely as a result of climate change. 

This analysis is based on the research group’s “shift index”, a tool that helps demonstrate how likely unusually high or low temperatures have become as a result of climate change. This tool can give the user a greater sense of the specific role being played by global warming in determining temperatures. 

Andrew Pershing, climate science director at Climate Central, stressed that these types of changes in temperature could have a long term impact on the future of sporting events, stating that “the stress of competing in extreme heat is already affecting a growing number of athletes around the world”. 

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