On 21 July 2016, as an intense heat wave gripped the Middle East and Southwest Asia, a weather station in Mitrabah, Kuwait, recorded a temperature of 54.0 degrees Celsius (129.2 degrees Fahrenheit)—possibly the highest temperature on record for the Eastern Hemisphere and Asia. Before declaring the record officially broken, a committee of World Meteorological Organization experts will investigate whether the sensor used to make the measurement is reliable. Graphic: Jesse Allen / NASA Earth Observatory

By Hugh Naylor
10 August 2016

BAGHDAD – Record-shattering temperatures this summer have scorched countries from Morocco to Saudi Arabia and beyond, as climate experts warn that the severe weather could be a harbinger of worse to come.

In coming decades, U.N. officials and climate scientists predict that the mushrooming populations of the Middle East and North Africa will face extreme water scarcity, temperatures almost too hot for human survival and other consequences of global warming.

If that happens, conflicts and refugee crises far greater than those now underway are probable, said Adel Abdellatif, a senior adviser at the U.N. Development Program’s Regional Bureau for Arab States who has worked on studies about the effect of climate change on the region.

“This incredible weather shows that climate change is already taking a toll now and that it is — by far — one of the biggest challenges ever faced by this region,” he said.

These countries have grappled with remarkably warm summers in recent years, but this year has been particularly brutal.

Parts of the United Arab Emirates and Iran experienced a heat index — a measurement that factors in humidity as well as temperature — that soared to 140 degrees in July, and Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, recorded an all-time high temperature of nearly 126 degrees. Southern Morocco’s relatively cooler climate suddenly sizzled last month, with temperatures surging to highs between 109 and 116 degrees. In May, record-breaking temperatures in Israel led to a surge in ­heat-related illnesses.

Temperatures in Kuwait and Iraq startled observers. On July 22, the mercury climbed to 129 degrees in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. A day earlier, it reached 129.2 in Mitribah, Kuwait. If confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization, the two temperatures would be the hottest ever recorded in the Eastern Hemisphere. [more]

An epic Middle East heat wave could be global warming’s hellish curtain-raiser

2 comments :

  1. Richard Schwartz said...

    Very frightening article. Averting a climate catastrophe should be the central focus for civilization today.

    Here are ten reasons we all should be very concerned about climate change:
    1. Science academies worldwide, 97% of climate scientists, and 99.9% of peer-reviewed papers on the issue in respected scientific journals argue that climate change is real, is largely caused by human activities, and poses great threats to humanity. In December 2015, 195 nations at the Paris climate change conference all agreed that immediate action must be taken to avert a climate catastrophe.
    2. Every decade since the 1970s has been warmer than the previous decade and all of the 17 warmest years since temperature records were kept in 1880 have been since 1998. 2015 is the warmest year globally since 1880 when temperature records were first kept, breaking the record held before by 2014, and 2016 is on track to become the warmest year. The previous 12 months have all broken records for being the hottest month with its name (March, April, etc.) . This means, for example, that April 2016 was the warmest April since 1880.
    3. Polar icecaps and glaciers worldwide have been melting rapidly, faster than scientific projections.
    4. There has been an increase in the number and severity of droughts, wildfires, storms, and floods. Seems to be stories about this almost daily on TV news.
    5. California has been subjected to so many severe climate events (heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and mudslides when heavy rains occur) recently that its governor, Jerry Brown, stated that, “Humanity is on a collision course with nature.”
    6. Many climates experts believe that we are close to a tipping point when climate change will spiral out of control, with disastrous consequences, unless major positive changes soon occur.
    7. While climate scientists believe that 350 parts per million (ppm) of atmospheric CO2 is a threshold value for climate stability, the world reached 400 ppm in 2014, and the amount is increasing by 2 - 3 ppm per year.
    8. While climate scientists hope that temperature increases can be limited to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), largely because that is the best that can be hoped for with current trends and momentum, the world is now on track for an average increase of 4 – 5 degrees Celsius, which would produce a world with almost unimaginably negative climate events .
    9. The Pentagon and other military groups believe that climate change will increase the potential for instability, terrorism, and war by reducing access to food and clean water and by causing tens of millions of desperate refuges fleeing from droughts, wildfire, floods, storms, and other effects of climate change.
    10. The conservative group ConservAmerica (www.ConservAmerica.org), formerly known as ‘Republicans for Environmental Protection,’ is very concerned about climate change threats. They are working to end the denial about climate threats and the urgency of working to avert them on the part of the vast majority of Republicans, but so far with very limited success.
    As president emeritus of Jewish Veg (formerly Jewish Vegetarians of North America), I want to stress that animal agriculture is a major contributor to climate change, emitting more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars and other means of transportation combined, according to a 2006 UN Food and Agriculture report, "Livestock's Long Shadow." And a 2009 cover story in World Watch magazine by two environmentalists associated with the World Bank concluded that the ‘livestock’ sector is responsible for at least 51% of all human-induced greenhouse gases.

    Time to make averting a climate catastrophe a central organizing principle for society today and to stress that shifts to plant-based (vegan) diets are essential to avert such a strategy and to help shift our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path.  

  2. Anonymous said...

    Why do humans need to exist? Is there something in the universe that needs us? The primary function of the human brain is to solve problems. Who is creating most of the problems? We use our brains, to solve the problems that WE create! Doesn't sound too intelligent does it? If we don't exist, then problems that need solving don't exist. Perhaps the ultimate problem to be solved is human existence itself.  

 

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