NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) –
The Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East are warming almost twice the global average, with temperatures expected to rise to 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century if no action is taken to reverse the trend. , a new report says.
The region will experience “unprecedented” heat waves, more severe and long-lasting droughts and sandstorms, and scarcity of rainfall that will “compromise food and water security” for the region’s 400 million people, according to a summary of the report released Tuesday.
The eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East are more susceptible to warming trends due to their unique natural features, such as large desert expanses and lower water levels, the study says.
The report was prepared by an international group of scientists supervised by the Cyprus Institute of Climate and Atmospheric Research Center and the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. Originally published in June in Reviews of Geophysics, it aims to highlight the impact of climate change in the region ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit in Egypt in November.
Arid climate zones will expand northward and snow-capped mountains in more northerly climates will decline during this century, said Dr George Zittis, co-author of the report. Although the sea level in the region is expected to rise at a similar rate to other global estimates, many Mediterranean countries are not prepared to deal with it, he said.
“This would pose serious challenges to coastal infrastructure and agriculture and can lead to salinization of coastal aquifers,” Zittis warned. The saltier water from rising sea levels and low rainfall can severely damage crops and fishing.
The region’s most vulnerable groups, including the elderly, children and pregnant people, will face major health challenges, said Max Planck Institute director Jos Lelieveld, who took part in the study. Many European nations already have initiatives to help vulnerable people in extreme climatic conditions.
According to the document, the region is rapidly overtaking the European Union as a source of greenhouse gases and becoming a major emitter on a global scale. China, the United States, India and the EU are currently the largest emitters in the world. Several Mediterranean countries are also part of the European bloc.
If the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5 ° C (2.7 ° F) is met, it would limit the temperature rise in the region to around 2 ° C (3.6 ° F), the study states. The report urged the region to rapidly reduce its dependence on greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in the energy and transport sectors.
The study’s projections for the region are in line with other scientific studies, including a major report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change earlier this year. The UN climate report called the Mediterranean a “hot spot” of climate change, vulnerable to drought, coastal erosion and heat waves.
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