Sunday, May 10, 2020


Waking up to snow, I was reminded of a new study in PNAS on the “future of the human climate niche”. In the study, it is shown that humans have historically concentrated in a narrow subset of the planet’s available climates, characterized by a mean annual temperature around 13 degrees Celsius.

Having grown up in Kalmar which has an annual mean temperature of 7.7 degrees, the difference to Umeå’s 2.7 degrees is pretty stark (even if it is still more benign than Kiruna’s -2.2 degrees). But as I know first-hand from Seoul with 11.9 degrees, annual mean temperatures are exactly that. Seoul has bitterly cold and windy winters and unbearably humid summers, making the autumn the only really nice season (yellow dust blowing in from the deserts of China makes the spring less appealing). With climate change, I am afraid the winters here in Umeå will become even icier with the temperature constantly shifting between plus and minus degrees. As such, my Australian co-author has definitely drawn the longer straw, sending me this picture from his morning swim...



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