A new international study by the Center for Climate and Atmospheric Research (CARE-C) of the Cyprus Institute and the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry predicts that ignoring climate change signals will lead to extreme and life-threatening heatwaves in the region. This unusual heat will have serious consequences for the people of the MENA – Middle East and North Africa Region – North Africa and the Middle East.
These events will be associated with excessively high temperatures of up to 56 ° C and higher in urban settings and can last for several weeks, being potentially life-threatening to humans and animals, even those resistant to high temperatures such as camels.
In the second half of the century, about half of the MENA population, or about 600 million people, may be exposed to these recurring extreme weather events each year, which will affect health, agriculture, and biodiversity.
In their work, the scientists used a first-of-its-kind multi-model climate projection ensemble designed specifically for the MENA geographic area. The researchers then predicted future hot spells and characterized them using the heatwave magnitude index. It allows one to quantify the intensity of individual events, taking into account both their duration and the temperature anomaly itself.
Such detailed downscaling studies were not available in this region. The scientific community that deals with regional climate modeling are mainly concentrated in Europe and North America. There has been little interest and insufficient funding to study the impacts of climate change in the Mediterranean and North African region.