UAE should brace for escalating climate extremes: Experts

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The United Arab Emirates should brace for a mixture of more extreme heat and intense rainfall, as climate change worsens, experts told Al Arabiya English.

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Global temperatures are likely to reach record levels in the next five years, fueled by increased greenhouse gases and the expected return of the El Niño phenomenon - a climate pattern that describes the unusual warming of surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in May. Greenhouse gases are also leading to warmer oceans with glaciers melting and sea levels rising which will provoke more extreme weather, the WMO warned in its report.

And the UAE will be no stranger to these weather phenomena.

“Day-to-day life will most likely be impacted by extreme heat and extreme rain,” Youssef Wehbe, who works as part of a rain enhancement program under the UAE’s National Center of Meteorology, told Al Arabiya English.

Wehbe is also a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute’s climate and water program.

July was confirmed as the hottest month on record, according to EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, while a NASA scientist said the month would probably be the world’s hottest month in “hundreds, if not thousands, of years.”

“I think we can almost say we have shifted into a new paradigm in terms of where the range of climate behavior is going to be,” Mohammed Mahmoud, director of climate and water at the Washington-based MEI told Al Arabiya English.

“I'm hoping this isn't the absolute benchmark moving forward, but it's certainly an indication of how things could progress moving forward,” he added.

Seven people died in the UAE in July last year amid the heavy rains and flooding that hit parts of the country as the country recorded its wettest weather in decades, while doctors in the emirates warned in July this year that heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke are on the rise as temperatures crossed the 50°C threshold.

Climate change is an “acute concern” for the Middle East and North Africa region the MEI said in its 2022 annual report. “Weather events, which are putting significant pressure on communities, economies, and infrastructure,” the report published earlier this year said.

Read more:

UAE: Seven people dead after floods hit Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah

UAE authorities brief residents after rain, floods wreak havoc

Saudi Arabia to experience torrential rain, thunder: Meteorology center

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