FIFA World Cup football fans have been dealing with high temperatures in Qatar. Photo:

Rising heat due to climate change plays foul at FIFA World Cup in Doha

The FIFA World Cup venue is reeling under unseasonal heat this week, made worse by climate change, says a new analysis

Temperatures in Doha at the moment are more than 3°C hotter across the day than normal for the time of year, according to real-time analysis by climate scientists at US research group Climate Central. This increase has been made at least twice as likely because of climate change, said the analysis. 

FIFA World Cup football fans have been dealing with high temperatures, reaching the early 30 degrees, even after the tournament was shifted to the winter months and outdoor air conditioning has been widely used to combat the heat.

Andrew Pershing, director of climate science at Climate Central said, “The stress of competing in extreme heat is already affecting more athletes around the world, and climate change is making outdoor sports riskier for both pros and the rest of us. It will keep getting even riskier, until net greenhouse gas emissions are halted and global temperatures stop rising.”

The analysis is a part of the Climate Shift Index (CSI), which applies a five-point scale to indicate how much more likely or frequent high and low temperatures have become as a result of climate change. A CSI level of three means the day’s average temperature was made at least three times more likely than it would have been without the influence of human-caused climate change. 

The table below shows Doha’s Climate Shift Index for the past five days, and how much hotter it has been than is normal for this time of the year.

DateHow much hotter than normalClimate Shift IndexWorld Cup matches
25 November+1.9°CAt least 2x more likely because of climate changeWales-IranQatar-SenegalNetherlands-EcuadorEngland-USA
26 November+2.7°CAt least 2x more likely because of climate changeTunisia-AustraliaPoland-Saudi ArabiaFrance-DenmarkArgentina-Mexico
27 November+3.3°CAt least 3x more likely because of climate changeJapan-Costa RicaBelgium-MoroccoCroatia-CanadaSpain-Germany
28 November+3.4°CAt least 2x more likely because of climate changeCameroon-SerbiaSouth Korea-GhanaBrazil-SwitzerlandPortugal-Uruguay
29 November (forecast)+3.1°CAt least 2x more likely because of climate changeNetherlands-QatarEcuador-SenegalIran-USAWales-England
30 November (forecast)+2.6°CAt least 2x more likely because of climate changeTunisia-FranceAustralia-DenmarkPoland-ArgentinaSaudi Arabia-Mexico

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