The Middle East and North Africa could already by mid-century be unbearably hot. Jos Lelieveld, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, and colleagues have investigated how the temperatures in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will develop in the 21st century. For this they first compared climate data from 1986 to 2005 with the results of 26 climate models and then used these to calculate the climate change for the period 2046–2065 and 2081–2100.
The frightening results imply: Even if the earth is warming to an average of 2 °C, the summer temperature in the Middle East will more than double. In extreme cases, already by mid-century during night it will not cool below 30 °C. Midday temperatures could even reach 50 °C during hot days. In the Middle East and North Africa extreme heat waves might occur ten times more frequently and last dramatically longer. If, in the years 1986 to 2005, it was very hot for about 16 days, Mid-century it will be unusually hot for about 80 days, and by the end of the century for more than 118 days – even if the greenhouse gas emissions should fall again from 2040.
On average in the MENA, the maximum temperature during the hottest days in the recent past was about 43 °C, which could increase to about 46 °C by the middle of the century and reach almost 50 °C by the end of the century. This will have important consequences for human health and society.
- Strongly increasing heat extremes in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the 21st century,
J. Lelieveld, Y. Proestos, P. Hadjinicolaou, M. Tanarhte, E. Tyrlis, G. Zittis,
Climatic Change 2016.