Climate change could make sections of the Middle East ‘uninhabitable’
Researchers at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia have found that climate change could make sections of North Africa and the Middle East uninhabitable.
“In future, the climate in large parts of the Middle East and North Africa could change in such a manner that the very existence of its inhabitants is in jeopardy,” Jos Lelieveld, director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and professor at the Cyprus Institute, said.
According to the study, the researchers concluded that by the middle of the century, the average temperature in winter will rise by around 2.5 degrees and in summer by almost five degrees Celsius in the Middle East and North Africa.
The temperature spikes will lead to serious “consequences for human health and society.”
More than 550 million people already live inside “the margin of what is physically possible” — meaning a slight uptick in temperature would be enough to render it uninhabitable.
During the hottest days, the maximum temperature is currently around 43 C. The study’s most optimistic scenario found the maximum would rise three degrees, to an average of 46 C by mid-century. Noon temperatures would be 50 degrees Celsius.
“The extremes will be so extreme that you cannot survive,” Johannes Lelieveld, one of the study’s six authors, said.
As a result, more than 500 million people living in Middle East and North Africa will be forced to leave their homes.
“The bottom line is we have to be prepared because people will be leaving the region,” Lelieveld said. “It will come gradually, but it will come definitely.”