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Heat exposure and global air conditioning


Air conditioning adoption is increasing dramatically worldwide as incomes rise and average temperatures go up. Using daily temperature data from 14,500 weather stations, we rank 219 countries and 1,692 cities based on a widely used measure of cooling demand called total cooling degree day exposure. India, China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Brazil, Bangladesh and the Philippines all have more total cooling degree day exposure than the United States—a country that uses 400 terawatt-hours of electricity annually for air conditioning.

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Fig. 1: Global CDDs.

Data availability

This research relies entirely on publicly available data. Detailed information on all sources is available in the Supplementary Information, and additional results and other materials are available in the Supplementary Data. Source data for Fig. 1 are provided with the paper.

Code availability

All code and related materials used in the analysis are available as Supplementary Software.


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The authors have not received any financial compensation for this project, nor do they have any financial relationships that relate to this research. We are grateful to seminar participants at the University of California, Berkeley for helpful feedback.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



All authors conceptualized the research. L.T.B. collected, processed and cleaned the data. L.T.B. constructed the figures and tables. All authors contributed to writing, reviewing and editing the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lucas W. Davis.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figs. 1–7, Tables 1–9, discussion, methods and references.

Supplementary Data

Complete country- and city-level lists of CDDs.

Supplementary Software

CDD_code_20191018.R corresponds to the code used for the main analysis, while cdd_extraction_tutorial.pdf provides a tutorial for readers who would like to work with 5 km_18C.tif (see Source Data Fig. 1).

Source data

Source Data Fig. 1

Raster file used to generate Figure 1. It contains average annual CDDs from 2009 to 2018 at a 5 km by 5 km resolution.

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Biardeau, L.T., Davis, L.W., Gertler, P. et al. Heat exposure and global air conditioning. Nat Sustain 3, 25–28 (2020).

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