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Increasing Heat Could Make Parts of Middle East and North Africa Uninhabitable

The Middle East and North Africa are already some of the hottest places on Earth. In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia daily high temperatures can exceed 40°C (104°F) for the entire summer. Unfortunately, it’s about to get a whole lot hotter. A paper from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia today warns that by the end of the century parts of the region could be too hot for humans to survive.

The authors examined the possible impact of climate change using two different projections of greenhouse gas concentration. The first assumes that carbon emissions will be curbed by mid-century while the latter assumes that they will continue to increase. Both projections predict that by 2050 the global temperature will be close to or have already exceeded the 2°C (3.6°F) target set last year in Paris.

In the milder of the two scenarios, the number of days per year that would qualify as part of a heat wave would increase from the 15 per year on average for the region during the years 1986 to 2005, to 83 per year by mid-century. In the more drastic scenario there would be 118 heat wave days per year. By the end of the century those would increase to 104 days and 204 days, respectively.

mariusz kluzniak

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