By 2100, some destinations will lose half of their fair weather days

Earth day

The Dominican Republic, known for its good weather, will have 124 fewer “outdoor days” in 75 years – a huge blow to its quality of life and its tourism-dependent economy. This is how the rest of the world stacks up

Spring has officially sprung in North America and Europe, and crowds are rushing to eat out on terraces, cycle along flower-filled meadows and boat in parks. It’s a period of pleasant weather that scientists predict will give way to another record-breaking summer.

If this window seems short-lived, there is reason to believe it is growing – at least in some parts of the world.

By the end of the century, residents of northern countries will generally see sunny, spring-like balsam appear earlier in winter. Conversely, countries to the south – including the equatorial regions and extending into southern Europe and the US – will enjoy fewer days of temperate weather for the most part throughout the year.

This is the conclusion of an innovative study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, published in the Journal of Climate in March, which predicts the long-term effects of climate change on specific destinations around the world. The study combines data from 50 climate models to map the ways in which “off days” will be numbered in different destinations by 2100. The term refers to 24-hour windows in which temperatures are pleasant enough for most people to enjoy outdoor activities. (Winter sports do not count.) The consequences are enormous for the quality of life, travel and tourism.

“Changes in the number of days outdoors will directly affect how people around the world experience climate change,” MIT environmental engineering professor Elfatih Eltahir, who led the study, said via email.

There are clear winners and losers.

“Russia, Canada and other countries in the Global North will have more outdoor days in the future,” said Yeonwoo Choi, a postdoctoral researcher at MIT and member of the research team. “On the other hand, developing countries like Ivory Coast will have fewer outdoor days, so there is a clear inequality between the global north and the global south.”

The study’s findings are consistent with the fact that the impacts of climate change will be greater in the Global South, despite the fact that countries there have contributed fewer man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

While these changes will affect residents of such destinations much more profoundly than visitors, it is worth considering how climate change will alter the places tourists visit. It impacts where people go and when they travel, as well as the tourism economies of countries that rely on tourists.

With this in mind, we used MIT’s data to create a scorecard showing how outdoor days will fluctuate in the world’s most visited tourist destinations – a ranking last compiled by UN Tourism in 2022 .

Even outside these most visited countries, certain trends remain true.

The greatest consequences are expected at tropical destinations. In the Dominican Republic, with 124 fewer days outdoors by 2100, the temperate climate will decline by 50 percent year-round. Mexico, India, Thailand and Egypt, all in the Northern Hemisphere, will experience a similar decline, losing from 55 to 86 outdoor days per year. The United Arab Emirates will also suffer; An estimated 85 days of fine weather are expected to be lost each year, which doesn’t even take into account a possible increase in the torrential rains that brought Dubai airport to an unprecedented standstill this month.

In contrast, France, Britain, Germany and Austria will gain 18 to 60 outdoor days by 2100. This will largely be due to warmer winters – unwelcome news for the ski industry. In the Mediterranean, Greece is estimated to lose more than 30 outdoor days by 2100 due to hot summer temperatures from May to September.

O’Shannon Burns, a sustainable tourism consultant and program manager at Cornell University’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, says this is the first time she’s seen a study using outdoor days to address the impacts of climate change. to draw attention. “This highlights how deeply the travel sector will be affected by climate change,” she says – “and the importance of climate action planning at the destination level.”

Want to see how outdoor days will change in your state or country? Use this website to find out. Select ‘SSP1-2.6’ for results that reflect a more optimistic perspective on climate change and ‘SSP5-8.5’ to explore a darker scenario. Adjust the results further by using “Variable” to select the range of outdoor temperatures you prefer.