Persian Gulf Cities Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Mecca Will be Too Hot for Humans

By | Oct 28, 2015 08:55 AM EDT
Persian Gulf Heat

Runners jog along Kite Beach, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sept. 14, 2015(Photo : Getty Images)

Climate change and health experts warn that drastic environmental measures need to be taken immediately to arrest the imminent catastrophe the Persian Gulf faces, following reports that the region will soon be too hot for humans to live in.

Health officials say the future is expected to be hot in many parts of the Persian Gulf, endangering not only the lives of the ill and elderly but even of fit people if the current pace of carbon dioxide emissions does not abate.

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The new study, conducted by both environmental and health experts and published Monday in the journal "Nature Climate Change", described the kind of unbearable heat that would envelop the Persian Gulf by the end of the century if authorities do not step up their efforts in coming up with solutions.

Based on the study, the heat index, which combines heat and humidity, may hit 74 to 77 C (165 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 6 hours, according to numerous computer simulations that were undertaken as part of the new report.

The heat index will be so hot that the human body can't get rid of heat, the experts said.

Already, the current heat waves have been hurting the elderly the most, and the experts warned that even the fit and healthy will not be spared eventually.

"You can go to a wet sauna and put the temperature up to 35 (Celsius or 95 degrees Fahrenheit) or so. You can bear it for a while, now think of that at an extended exposure of six or more hours," said study co-author Elfatih Eltahir, an MIT environmental engineering professor.

Eltahir added that although humans have been around, Earth has not been witness to such oppressive and prolonged combination of heat and humidity. He said the Persian Gulf's geographic location, coupled with continued gas emissions, will send the heat index to continuously rise, and will happen every decade or so toward the end of the century.

The study, however, said that some cities like Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha will be spared from the scorching heat because they have air-conditioning. But those who work outside and have no air conditioning in their homes stand to suffer from the intolerable heat.

Eltahir said although Mecca won't be quite as hot, it will still cause heat-related deaths of pilgrims in their annual hajj.

The study warned that some of the scariest effects of a changing climate involve conditions that are outside the realm of human existence and experience.

If existing carbon emissions continue to rise, the people in the region will most likely have to go to other places where they can live without fear of early death, the study said.  

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