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Home » Middle East and North Africa: Heatwaves of up to 56 degrees Celsius without climate action

Middle East and North Africa: Heatwaves of up to 56 degrees Celsius without climate action

Middle East and North Africa: Heatwaves of up to 56 degrees Celsius without climate action

The Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) is a climate change hot spot where summers warm much faster than in the rest of the world. Some parts of the region are already among the hottest locations globally. A new international study predicts that ignoring the signals of climate change and continuing business-as-usual will lead to extreme and life-threatening heatwaves in the region. Such extraordinary heat events will have a severe impact on the people of the area.

The study, which aims at assessing emerging heatwave characteristics, was led by scientists from the Climate and Atmosphere Research Center (CARE-C) of The Cyprus Institute and the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, with the contribution of researchers from the CMCC Foundation - Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change and other research institutes, mainly from the MENA region.

"Our results for a business-as-usual pathway indicate that especially in the second half of this century unprecedented super- and ultra-extreme heatwaves will emerge", explains George Zittis of The Cyprus Institute, first author of the study. These events will involve excessively high temperatures of up to 56 degrees Celsius and higher in urban settings and could last for multiple weeks, being potentially life-threatening for humans and animals, even high-temperature tolerant animals such as camels. In the second half of the century, about half of the MENA population, or approximately 600 million people, could be exposed to such annually recurring extreme weather conditions, which will affect health, agriculture, biodiversity.

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