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746. Day-to-day Temperature Variability

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746. Day-to-day Temperature Variability

Temperatures have fluctuated wildly recently. While the cherry blossoms bloomed historically early, on the weekend of March 25, the temperature in Tokyo dropped more than 10°C from the previous day, resulting in rainy weather with cool cherry blossoms, which must have surprised not only humans but also the plants. People who were looking forward to seeing cherry blossoms for the first time in three years since the COVID-19 pandemic and the food industry were also affected.

Today’s Pick is an article published in Nature Climate Change, previously featured here, that evaluates the relationship between daily temperature changes and economic growth.

It is clear that the macroeconomy is affected by climate change. However, the authors argue that most analyses of the economic impact of climate change focus only on the annual average change in climate variables, which overlooks the calculation of economic losses. In particular, the authors focused on daily variability rather than annual average temperature. The authors then analysed the relationship between daily temperature variability and economic growth rates using regional economic data recorded at 1,537 locations around the world over more than 40 years. It is estimated that daily temperature variations that are significantly different from the seasonal average can reduce real economic growth by an average of 5% through impacts on crop production, human health and commodity sales.

The impact of daily temperature variation depends on interseasonal temperature differences and income, with low-income regions at low latitudes being most vulnerable. In high-latitude regions, where interseasonal temperature differences can be as high as 40°C, the loss for each 1°C increase in daily temperature variability is 3%, while in low-latitude regions, where interseasonal temperature differences are around 3°C, the loss is expected to be 10% or more. This is because high-latitude countries are inherently resilient to large temperature swings, whereas low-latitude countries are not. Furthermore, even at the same latitude, poor countries are expected to suffer more than developed countries.

Throughout history, the process of economic growth that has made many countries richer through industrial development has resulted in the emission of large amounts of greenhouse gases. Today, however, changing weather patterns are affecting all aspects of human life around the world, including food, clothing and shelter. The threat of climate change is particularly serious for people in developing countries and coastal areas at low latitudes, and is also a source of conflict and confrontation. Policymakers face difficult choices about how to balance the gains and losses of climate change and economic growth.

Kotz, M., Wenz, L., Stechemesser, A. et al. Day-to-day temperature variability reduces economic growth. Nat. Clim. Chang. 11, 319–325 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-020-00985-5


Contributors: Solongo TUMUR and IIYAMA Miyuki (Information Program)