The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topic: A Dire Warning Of Future Heat For The Middle East
Dear Diary. Ever since I’ve been dealing with the climate crisis in the 1980s I’ve been seeing some of the most extreme temperature records coming out of the Middle East. Here is the most recent example:
When temperatures get above 40°C (or 104°F) conditions are such that it is very difficult for humans to stay outdoors for no more than an hour without intaking water and finding some form of cooling relief. The Middle East already was a marginal area for human habitation long before the globe started to warm because of carbon pollution. It makes logical sense that the first area on the globe that would become uninhabitable would be the Middle East that is having difficulty with heat waves as of 2021, but isn’t so hot yet that we are seeing very many mass migrations.
The state of the Middle East may change very soon, though. Here is more on yet another climate study about the world’s largest susceptible area for extreme heat:
MARCH 24, 2021
Ignoring climate change will lead to unprecedented, societally disruptive heat extremes in the Middle East
Calculations show that the number of ultra-extreme heat events will increase sharply in the coming decades. (MENA: Middle East and North Africa) Credit: npj Climate and Atmospheric Science (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41612-021-00178-7
The Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) is a climate change hot spot where summers warm much faster than in the rest of the world. Some parts of the region are already among the hottest locations globally. A new international study led by scientists from the Climate and Atmosphere Research Center of the Cyprus Institute and the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry predicts that ignoring the signals of climate change and continuing business as usual with increasing greenhouse gas emissions will lead to extreme, life-threatening heatwaves in the region. Such extraordinary heat events will have a severe impact on the people of the area.
The study, building on cooperation between climate scientists from the MENA region, aimed at assessing emerging heatwave characteristics. The research team used a first-of-its-kind multi-model ensemble of climate projections designed exclusively for the geographic area. Such detailed downscaling studies had been lacking for this region. The researchers then projected future hot spells and characterized them with the Heat Wave Magnitude Index. The good match among the model results and with observations indicates a high level of confidence in the heat wave projections.
“Our results for a business-as-usual pathway indicate that especially in the second half of this century, unprecedented super- and ultra-extreme heatwaves will emerge,” explains George Zittis of The Cyprus Institute, first author of the study. These events will involve excessively high temperatures of up to 56 degrees Celsius and higher in urban settings, and could last for multiple weeks, being potentially life-threatening for humans and animals. In the second half of the century, about half of the MENA population, or approximately 600 million people, could be exposed to such annually recurring extreme weather conditions.
“Vulnerable citizens may not have the means to adapt to such harsh environmental conditions,” adds Jos Lelieveld, director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and leading the research team. “These heat waves, combined with regional economic, political, social and demographic drivers, have a high potential to cause massive, forced migration to cooler regions in the north.”
To avoid such extreme heat events in the region, the scientists recommend immediate and effective climate change mitigation measures. “Such measures include drastic decreases of the emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, but also adaptation solutions for the cities in the area,” says Lelieveld. It is expected that in the next 50 years, almost 90% of the exposed population in the MENA will live in urban centers, which will need to cope with these societally disruptive weather conditions. “There is an urgent need to make the cities more resilient to climate change,” emphasizes Zittis.
Explore further: Southern France set to sizzle due to climate change
More information: George Zittis et al, Business-as-usual will lead to super and ultra-extreme heatwaves in the Middle East and North Africa, npj Climate and Atmospheric Science (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41612-021-00178-7
Speaking of mass migrations away from the Middle East, the most recent was into Europe mainly because of the Syrian Civil War. The spark for this civil war was most likely a five year drought due to the beginnings of harsh climate change during the 2010s. A mass migration to Europe was sustained by bad politics in Syria, not by poor weather and continued drought, though. We will keep a close eye on the Middle East on this site to see if conditions there get radically so hot that people begin leaving prior inhabited areas.
Here is more climate and weather news from Saturday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:
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Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”