|Photo by Paul.|
Climate change could soon push Persian Gulf temperatures to lethal extremes, report warns
By Joby Warrick
The region that gave birth to civilization six millennia ago could soon witness a grim milestone in the history of urban development: the first cities to experience temperatures too extreme for human survival.
A scientific study released Monday predicts that parts of the Persian Gulf could see lethally hot summers by the end of the century, thanks to human-induced global warming that is already contributing to soaring temperatures around the globe.
RELATED STORY: Climate Change — The End May Be Nearer Than You Thought - Pt 1: 165F Temperatures in IranThe report’s authors say coastal cities from Dubai to Iran’s Bandar Abbas could experience summer days that surpass the “human habitability” limit, with heat and humidity so high that even the healthiest people could not withstand more than a few hours outdoors.
Other Middle Eastern cities could approach the lethal threshold, including the Saudi holy city of Mecca, a destination for millions of Muslim pilgrims every year, according to the report in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change.
RELATED STORY: Climate Change — The End May Be Nearer Than You Thought - Pt 2: Millions of Fish Cooked Alive in US Rivers and StreamsScientists have long maintained that parts of the planet could experience extreme temperatures if global warming continues at current rates. But the suggestion that major world metropolises could cross the “habitability” threshold in the 21st Century surprised some climate experts.
“The threats to human health may be much more severe than previously thought, and may occur in the current century,” Christoph Schaer, a physicist and climate modeler at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science in Zurich, Switzerland, said in a commentary on the study’s conclusions.