According to NBC News, the searing heat wave that has been plaguing North Africa and the Persian Gulf for the last few years could potentially make the region unlivable and unsustainable at some point in the foreseeable future.
Summers in North Africa and along the Gulf have gotten progressively warmer in recent years with the average daily temperature reaching anywhere between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Just last month, on July 5, Ouargla, Algeria, reached the highest temperature ever recorded on the African continent at a whopping 124.34 degrees.
With summer temperatures steadily increasing, experts worry that climate change might soon render the environment unsustainable.
A representative of the Egyptian Meteorological Authority, Ashraf Zaki, said that for Egypt, the last three years have been the hottest on record. “All of the extreme weather events have really been increased, the number of heat waves have increased,” Zaki noted. “Humidity levels are increased. All these issues belong to the effect of climate change.”
Meanwhile, sea levels are continually rising in the Nile Delta, cutting into 4 percent of Egypt’s farmland so far. According to the director of the Alexandria Research Center for Adaptation to Climate Change, Mohamed Abdrabo, “The main problem that most people are talking about is inundation by sea level rise for the Nile Delta.” The other problem, however, is saltwater intrusion, which has forced some farmers to either raise their land by building up soil or switch to growing crops that are more resistant to salt.
“We are talking about billions of dollars in terms of losses due to saltwater intrusion,” Abdrabo added. “The problem with sea level rise and saltwater intrusion and most of the impacts of climate change you’re talking about in Egypt, it will be mostly gradual, which means you don’t feel it.”
In the Arabian Gulf, however, the rising temperature poses much more of a threat than rising sea levels. While the United Arab Emirates has taken further precautions to combat the effects of climate change, the rising heat is still an immediate threat.
Fahed Alhammadi, the assistant undersecretary for the Ministry of Change and Environment, noted, “Here in the UAE we have already reached 104 F, we are almost touching 122 F. We look at it as if we are on the front line compared to others. We are now developing scenarios where we need to start to review our own regulations and law. We need to start monitoring diseases associated with temperature increase in order to bring these figures down.”