A new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change reports that cities in the Persian Gulf region will be rendered uninhabitable by the end of the century due to extreme heat and humidity, according to TIME.
The new study says that by 2100, the heat index (combination of heat and humidity) may rise up to 170 degrees, which will prove fatal to any human who is forced to live under such conditions. The climate will be so hot that the human body can’t perform regular functions needed to get rid of heat. Using a computer that simulated potential future conditions resulting from climate change, experts said that extreme heat may be sustained for at least six hours, resulting in many deaths in the affected regions.
“Such severe heat waves are expected to occur only once every decade or every few decades. But when they happen they will be quite lethal,” said study co-author Elfatih Eltahir, an MIT environmental engineering professor.
“Some of the scariest prospects from a changing clime involve conditions completely outside the range of human experience,” Carnegie Institute for Science climate researcher Chris Field wrote in an email.
“If we don’t limit climate change to avoid extreme heat or mugginess, the people in these regions will likely need to find other places to live.”
This study is indicative of the serious threat climate change poses not only to southwest Asia but also in the whole world. Scientists and experts from around the world agree on the consensus that the climate is changing at a rapid rate. According to Texas Climate News, federal scientists who keep track of temperature readings announced Wednesday that 2015 will become the hottest year on record since 1880. Many experts said that climate change was mostly brought about by human causes than by “natural causes.”
Residents of the region will have to cope with extreme temperatures even in in the present era as some cities are already hitting above 140 degrees even on regular summer days. Those with air conditioning units in their homes can stay indoors to alleviate the heat wave but others will not be as fortunate.
The extremely hot climate may also negatively impact many industries as employees won’t be able to work outdoors for extended periods of time. The oil industry might be put in jeopardy as well on account of the Persian Gulf’s huge oil reserves. Additionally, the extreme heat could cause many deaths during the Hajj pilgrimage held at the Mecca each year.
The effects of climate change can be felt around the world even this year. Early this year, more than 2,300 people died in India when a heatwave hit the country. The researchers who took part in the study said that the heat wave they studied will be “significantly more severe” and may cause even more deaths.
The good news is that there’s still hope. According to the study, the extreme heat conditions forecasted by the end of the century can be avoided if countries all over the world will take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by climate change. If the temperature increase ranges somewhere between 2°F (1.1°C) to 4.68°F (2.6°C) rather than the 7.2°F (4°C) increase projected in the study, heatwaves that exceed 170 degrees are likely not to occur.
The timing of the research is just right. In December, leaders from around the world are set to meet in the climate change conference in Paris with the hopes of finalizing a global agreement that will require each country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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