Scientists have warned the countries of Middle East and North Africa of unbearable hot that sooner or later many residents may have to leave the region.
A study conducted by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia revealed that temperatures in summer will increase more than two fold in the region, reaching 50 degrees Celsius during the day and not lower than 30 degrees Celsius at night.
Director of the Max Planck Jos Lelieveld said in future, the climate in large parts of the Middle East and North Africa could change in such a manner that the very existence of its inhabitants is in jeopardy.
“Climate change will significantly worsen the living conditions in the Middle East and in North Africa. Prolonged heat waves and desert dust storms can render some regions uninhabitable, which will surely contribute to the pressure to migrate,” said Lelieveld.
The researchers have studied about the temperatures in the region over the course of the 21st century as a result of global warming.
The scientists calculated that by mid-century, temperatures during the hottest periods will not drop below 30 degrees in the evenings and rise to 46 degrees Celsius during daytime. Noon temperatures could hit 50 degrees and heat waves could happen ten times more often.
The duration of heatwaves are forecast to “prolong dramatically” and the number of “unusually hot days” per year is expected to reach 80 by mid-century, instead of the average 16 days.
Lelieveld explained that the scenarios they have illustrated, as well as the forecast temperatures, are merely averages for the Mena region, adding that the situation in the UAE and other parts of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region is worse, Gulf News reported.
“In the Gulf region, the situation is worse, as the baseline summer temperatures are higher. It is important to realise that the summertime warming will be more than twice the global warming,” Lelieveld told Gulf News.
“The Gulf region has the additional problem of being humid. Hot and humid is not a good combination for human health, as the body cannot cool by evaporation.”
The UAE government has done a few initiatives to keep temperatures bearable and generate more rainfall. For instance, since April, a number of cloud seeding operations have been carried out, resulting in brief showers during an otherwise warm period.
“It will be important to prevent the business-as-usual scenario of CO2 emission to become a reality, and be prepared for further warming in summer,” Lelieveld said.
Researchers suggest that the population could drastically reduce if no steps are taken to fight global warming.
According to Panos Hadjinicolaou, Associate Professor at the Cyprus Institute and climate change expert, “If mankind continues to release carbon dioxide as it does now, people living in the Middle East and North Africa will have to expect about 200 unusually hot days, according to the model projections”.