Climate researchers say that summer time conditions in some parts of the Persian Gulf region could become intolerable by the end of the century; in a report published today by Nature Climate Change. Forbes magazine featured the article which suggests that if current trends continue, summertime heat and humidity would occasionally rise beyond the limit of human endurance in Abu Dhabi and Dubai; in Qatar’s capital, Doha; in the Saudi city of Dhahran and the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. It could have implications for some rituals of Hajj, the Muslim annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
Prof Carl Amos, from the University of Southampton has studied temperature trends in the Persian Gulf, noted that the latest analysis doesn’t include local effects such as urban heat islands. “Temperature trends are strongly linked to population growth, more so than greenhouse gases,” he said. “Cities are usually hotter than surrounding areas because of this well-known effect.”
Thamer Alrashidi, director of Kuwait-based Integrated International for Environmental Services, said it’s tricky to define the limits of human tolerance for heat. “In recent years, there has been very high temperature, more than 50 [degrees C, or 122 degrees F], with zero effect,” he said in an email. “You can see workers still work in the street, where in Europe, for example, people died with 40 degrees.” Thamer completed his PhD in 2009 at the University of Southampton, analysing drivers of seawater temperature in Kuwait Bay, in the northern part of the Gulf.