13 cities may exceed 2°Celsius temperature rise by 2020s, say scientists

Moscow faces the highest potential increase among more than 100 cities included in a report by the Urban Climate Change Research Network, based at Columbia University. (Reuters)
Updated 09 March 2018
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13 cities may exceed 2°Celsius temperature rise by 2020s, say scientists

EDMONTON, Canada: Thirteen cities worldwide are projected to see temperature hikes that could exceed 2 degrees Celsius (3.6°F) over the next decade or so, according to a new report.
The Russian capital, Moscow, faces the highest potential increase among more than 100 cities included in a report several years in the making by the Urban Climate Change Research Network, based at Columbia University.
“It’s all alarming,” William Solecki, one of the study’s editors, said at a United Nations-backed climate summit.
Cities that could see the steepest temperature increases during the 2020s include Helsinki in Finland (2.5°C), Ottawa in Canada (2.3°C) and Trondheim in Norway (2.3°C), the study showed.
All predictions included a lower limit too. For instance, temperatures in Moscow could increase by as little as 1.1°C.
The new data provides “foundation knowledge” for cities at the forefront of efforts to rein in the effects of global warming, said Cynthia Rosenzweig, an editor of the report and a researcher with NASA.
The new findings come on the heels of a UN draft report already causing alarm with projections that the global temperature rise is on track to exceed a 1.5°C target included in the Paris pact to curb global warming.
In addition, experts say that storms, floods and other extreme weather events that are related to climate change are hitting cities much harder than scientists had predicted.
“How will the cities know how they should develop their resilience plans unless they know what temperature projections, how the climate is supposed to change in their cities?” said Rosenzweig during a press conference.
The findings’ variance — projected increases do not exceed 1°C in a handful of cases — offer a reminder that cities need to develop tailored plans to mitigate the effects of climate change, said Solecki, a professor at Hunter College in New York.
Planning is particularly crucial given growing pressures from urbanization, he said.
About half the world’s population lives in urban areas, and that figure is expected to reach 66 percent by 2050, according to the UN.
The new report was launched in the western Canadian city of Edmonton, on the sidelines of a global summit where scientists and city planners are charting a roadmap for cities to fight the impact of climate change.


Saudi ICT sector holds key to growth, forum told

Updated 20 March 2019
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Saudi ICT sector holds key to growth, forum told

  • 5G will be used in 30% of big cities in Saudi Arabia by 2020
  • 90% of KSA has 4G technology coverage, including remote centers and villages

RIYADH: Information and communications technology (ICT) is one of the main drivers of development in today’s world, a Riyadh forum on “Digital Transformation for an Ambitious Country” has been told.

In his opening speech to the annual Communications and Information Technology Indicators Forum, Abdul Aziz Al-Ruwais, governor of the Communications and Information Technology Commission, said the ICT sector stimulated productivity, enhanced competitiveness and encouraged innovation.

On Wednesday, the Saudi minister of communications and information technology, Abdullah bin Amer Al-Sawaha, joined regional and global leaders in the ICT sector, telecom executives and government officials at the forum.

Al-Ruwais said that ICT has been used to “develop strategies and regulatory policies that can guarantee the availability of infrastructure, basic apparatus and services in all regions of the Kingdom.”

“In order to facilitate the mission of researchers, experts and those interested in telecommunication services indicators, the Communications and Information Technology Commission established an electronic platform that allows the user to have access to indicators and statistics related to the sector. This platform enables the user to view the indicators in the form of tables and detailed graphs,” he said.

Al-Ruwais said the commission has achieved 90 percent coverage of 4G technologies in the Kingdom, including remote centers and villages.

He said the authority has issued temporary licenses for fifth-generation networks, equipping 153 sites with 5G in nine cities. So far, 680 trials were conducted for 5G.

He said that ICT services achieved high indicators during the 2017 Hajj season, with local and international calls totaling 439 million through 16,000 base stations.

Mufarreh Nahari, director of Market Studies at CITC, said: “It is expected that by 2020 the experimental uses of 5G will be fully completed and they will be ready to launch the official 5G sim by then. By the end of 2020 we expect that 5G will be used in 30 percent of the big cities in Saudi Arabia.”

The past three years have seen an increase in internet usage. In 2018, two-thirds of Internet users in the Kingdom used the internet for more than four hours a day, said Nahari.

Ammar Al-Ansari, department head of Country Digital Acceleration at Cisco, said: “The agreements signed by the crown prince during his overseas visits led to the introduction of a number of artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, including virtual schools and smart classrooms.” 

Seven schools in Saudi have a live stream for teachers to connect with their students. They may be 250 km to 300 km apart, but an active learning session takes place between students and educators.

Al-Ansari displayed a video from a teacher in Jeddah giving lessons to students in the northern region via a smart board. AI was used to monitor and analyze students’ attention spans. 

The analysis will help educators update traditional teaching methods.