Climate change disrupting the Middle East

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA study finds that climate change is a major factor behind  the increase in Mediterranean winter droughts.

Microsoft Word - JCLID1100296_CoverSheet.doc

Winter precipitation trends in the Mediterranean region for the period 1902 – 2010.  The black line is a moving average of rainfall.  The red rectangles show years with low rainfall.

Reds and oranges highlight lands around the Mediterranean that experienced significantly drier winters during 1971-2010 than the comparison period of 1902-2010.

NOAA study: Human-caused climate change a major factor in more frequent Mediterranean droughts:  October 27, 2011
(Broken link to NOAA News stories 2011, drought 2011-10-27)

Thomas Friedman writes:

Here’s my bet about the future of Sunni, Shiite, Arab, Turkish, Kurdish and Israeli relations: If they don’t end their long-running conflicts, Mother Nature is going to destroy them all long before they destroy one another.

There is strong evidence that climate change is behind the decline in rainfall in the Middle East from 1971 to 2010.  Since 1902, the region experienced nearly all of its driest winters in the past 20 years. (A 2011 study from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

The war in Syria was preceded by the worst four-year drought in the country’s modern history, driving nearly a million farmers and herders off the land, into the cities where the government of Bashar al-Assad completely failed to help them, fuelling the revolution.

Bandar Mahshahr, Iran, on 31 July recorded one of the most extreme temperature observations ever recorded. It was 115 degrees F with a dew point an unfathomable 90 degrees F (a dew point of 55 F feels dry, 72 F is very humid, while over 75 F is oppressive).

The only “ism” that will save the Middle East is not Shiism or Islamism but “environmentalism” — understanding that there is no Shiite air or Sunni water, there is just “the commons,” their shared ecosystems, and unless they cooperate to manage and preserve them (and we all address climate change), vast eco-devastation awaits them all.

New York Times: 19 August 2015: Thomas Friedman

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.