New research shows that temperatures are set to skyrocket in parts of the Middle East and Africa, making human habitation next to impossible. These new climate projections, compiled by researchers from the Max Planck Institute, tell an incredibly apocalyptic scary story.
Combined with prolonged heat waves, long drought periods, and sandstorms these environmental conditions would be intolerable for human life. The Middle East and Africa are already ravaged by geopolitical conflict, adding a climate change crisis on top, what does this mean for the people in the region and others around the globe?
By 2050, summer temperatures in parts of the Middle East and North Africa would stay above 86ºF (30ºC) at night. During the day, temperatures during the hot seasons are predicted to rise to 114ºF (46ºC). By the end of the century, midday temperatures would reach 122ºF (50ºC). In the inset chart (using the color-coded temperature guide), one can see the difference between now and the year 2050.
These increases are due to desert warming amplification, which is a feedback loop that accelerates temperature increases in already-hot desert climates. In other climates, groundwater accumulates when the weather is cool and wet, then evaporates as temperatures rise. The water vapor cools the air as it evaporates, somewhat mitigating the heat on the ground. This process is called evapotranspiration. But the soil in arid regions is dry and getting drier as climate change progresses. Without this cooling effect, deserts heat up disproportionately under the hot sun than other areas.
On top of the climate change crisis, we have a water crisis leading to potential conflict. Until the mid-twentieth century, water was an abundant resource in the Jordan River Basin. Irrigation and canal systems sustained water availability even as the basin’s population grew, and bilateral agreements prevented most violence. But will it last?
Conflict over water in the Jordan River Basin has previously not been unknown. Israeli defense minister Ariel Sharon noted that in reality, the Six Days War started … on the day Israel decided to act against the diversion of the Jordan River. Another example was in 1965, when the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, later renamed Fatah, employed guerilla-style attacks on the National Water Carrier of Israel, an infrastructural project bringing water from the Sea of Galilee to the center and south of Israel.
A water resource war is coming – it is inevitable. Will people just sit in the desert and die from conflict, heat and no water? Of course not. As a reminder, there are nearly 700 million people living in the Middle East and North Africa region today, and the population by 2050 could nearly double to 1.4 billion. Where will they go? They will migrate to the north or somewhere in search of relief. The most likely place will be Europe, but as well as to other parts of the world. The culture of these people are Islamic going to mostly Christian areas – cultural immigration conflict is inevitable. Can the Christian areas really refuse entry? This sets up a powder keg of potential risks.
Whether you believe in toxic CO2 levels, man-made climate change or in some New Green Deal does not matter. What matters is that there is a coming climate change and water crisis in the Middle East. News Forecasters asks how likely will this dire situation come true? Perhaps this report is a bit alarmist but given we have already had some history of this trend, the likelihood is, that the trend continues and gets worst – the only question is to what degree. News Forecasters rates this risk at medium to high – the world best have risk mitigation strategies in place for these coming crises.