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Mon 2 Nov 2015 10:38 AM

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UAE dismisses claim Gulf heat levels will become 'intolerable to humans'

Head of the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology says rival UN-supported studies claim the rise will be less dramatic

UAE dismisses claim Gulf heat levels will become 'intolerable to humans'

UAE weather experts have hit out at a recent research which predicted that heat waves with temperatures "intolerable to humans" could become a regular occurrence in the Gulf by century’s end, claiming rival studies suggested the impact would be less dramatic.

Last month, research published in the journal Nature Climate Change claimed temperature and humidity levels exceeding anything previously recorded on earth may hit major cities including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and Dharhan. It said the research studied what scientists call “wet bulb temperature," a measure that combines heat and humidity. it said a wet-bulb temperature of above 35 degrees Celsius (which is equal to heat of 46 degrees Celsius and humidity of 50 percent) humans can no longer regulate their body temperature through sweating or radiating heat.

Less severe but still "extremely dangerous" heat waves, now seen once every 20 years or so, would become "the normal summer day," said Elfatih Eltahir, an engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who co-authored the paper in comments published by Bloomberg.

"What we are talking about is significantly more severe than people have experienced anywhere before," Eltahir was quoted as saying. The most extreme conditions “would exceed what a human body may be able to tolerate," he added.

The research was based on computer simulations of what the Gulf’s climate may look like in the last 30 years of the century. They assumed greenhouse gases would continue to accumulate in the atmosphere at their current pace, driving up global temperatures.

However, UAE weather experts have questioned the research and claimed rival studies were less dramatic in their conclusions.

Abdullah Al Mandoos, executive director of the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS), told Gulf News a study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also ran projections and concluded that temperatures will increase between 0.3 and 4.8 degrees Celsius by 2100, much less than the dramatic scenarios predicted by the MIT team.

Al Mandoos added that weather research was not an exact science and full of uncertainties as it is based on computer long-term computer predictions and interpretations.

He also pointed out that the rival IPCC reports were an accredited source used by the United Nations.