By 2100, Some Destinations Will Lose Half Their Nice Weather Days

By the end of the century, residents of northern countries will generally see sunny, springlike balm appear earlier in the winter.

By 2100, Some Destinations Will Lose Half Their Nice Weather Days

The greatest climate change impacts are expected in tropical destinations.

Spring is officially underway in North America and Europe, and crowds have rushed to dine out on terraces, bike along flowery meadows and boat in parks. It's a window of pleasant weather that scientists predict will give way to another record-breaking scorcher of a summer.

If this window feels short-lived, there's reason to believe it's growing - at least in some parts of the world.

By the end of the century, residents of northern countries will generally see sunny, springlike balm appear earlier in the winter. Conversely, those in the south-including equatorial regions and extending into Southern Europe and the US-will for the most part enjoy fewer days of temperate weather year-round.

So concludes an innovative study out of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, published in the Journal of Climate in March, that predicts the long-term effects of climate change on specific destinations around the world. The research combines data from 50 climate models to chart the ways in which "outdoor days" will be numbered in various 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 don't count.) The implications are enormous for quality of life, travel and tourism.

"Changes in the number of outdoor days will impact directly how people around the world feel climate change," said MIT environmental engineering professor Elfatih Eltahir, who led the study, via email.

There are clear winners and losers.

"Russia, Canada and other Global North countries will get more outdoor days in the future," says Yeonwoo Choi, a postdoctoral researcher at MIT and member of the research team. "On the other hand, developing countries such as Ivory Coast will get fewer outdoor days, so there is a clear disparity between the Global North and the Global South."

The study's findings align with the fact that the impacts of climate change will be more pronounced in the Global South, despite its countries having contributed fewer manmade greenhouse gas emissions.

While these changes will affect residents in such destinations far more profoundly than visitors, it's worth considering how climate change will alter the places that tourists visit. It has implications for where people will go and when they will travel, as well as for the tourism economies of countries that rely on vacationers.

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 produced most recently by UN Tourism in 2022.

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Extending beyond these most-visited countries, certain trends remain true.

The greatest impacts are expected in tropical destinations. The Dominican Republic, with 124 fewer outdoor days by 2100, will see a 50% drop in temperate climate year-round. Mexico, India, Thailand and Egypt, all in the Northern Hemisphere, will experience similar reductions, losing from 55 to 86 outdoor days a year. The United Arab Emirates will suffer, too; it's expected to lose 85 days of good weather annually, not accounting for a possible uptick in the torrential rains that this month brought Dubai's airport to an unprecedented standstill.

In contrast, France, the UK, Germany and Austria will gain from 18 to 60 outdoor days by 2100. This will be 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, sustainable tourism consultant and program manager at Cornell University's Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, says this is the first time she has seen a study using outdoor days to highlight climate change impacts. "This really drives home how deeply the travel sector is going to 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 climate change outlook and "SSP5-8.5" to explore a darker scenario. Customize the results further by using "Variable" to select the range of outdoor temperatures you find comfortable.