Report says Mega Heat Waves Could Make Persian Gulf Region Uninhabitable by End of Century

In this June 10, 2010 photo, a laborer avoids the direct sun by working behind a wooden sign, as he works on a manhole alongside of an under construction road in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Kamran Jebreili/AP)
In this June 10, 2010 photo, a laborer avoids the direct sun by working behind a wooden sign, as he works on a manhole alongside of an under construction road in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

We spend a lot of time looking at climate change side effects, such as rising sea levels and abnormal weather events, but a new study reminds us it is also going to get very, very hot.

A new report published in the Nature Climate Change journal suggests many populated cities in the Persian Gulf may be uninhabitable by the end of the century. The two authors, Dr. Elfatih Eltahir from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and  Dr. Jeremy Pal from Loyola Marymount University, calculated future livability in the area through “web-bulb temperature” predictions, “a combined measure of temperature and humidity or degree of ‘mugginess.’”

Without accounting for artificial cooling, the wet-bulb temperature “threshold for survival for more than six unprotected hours is 35 degrees Celsius, or about 95 degrees Fahrenheit,” equivalent to a heat index of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, explains the study’s press release.

This temperature may seem unfathomable, but those living in major Persian Gulf cities such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha are already feeling the heat.

As The Christian Science Monitor reported in August, the Iranian city of Bandar Mahshahr witnessed one of the most extreme heat indices (or “feels like” temperatures) at 34.6 degrees Celsius, or 165 degrees Fahrenheit, for an hour on July 31. Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, another Persian Gulf city, held the previous heat record from July 2003.

Temperatures in this region regularly surpass 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, “because of a combination of low elevations, clear sky, water body that increases heat absorption, and the shallowness of the Persian Gulf itself, which produces high water temperatures that lead to strong evaporation and very high humidity,” says the report’s press release.

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SOURCE: Story Hinckley 
The Christian Science Monitor