- On August 5, the Iranian city of Abadan recorded the year’s highest dry heat temperature, which was 53 degrees Celsius (127 degrees Fahrenheit).
- The Middle East is particularly sensitive to the increase in global temperatures as it is more humid and more prone to sweating out heat.
- The body can no longer cool itself to a temperature that can maintain normal operations when the wet bulb temperature reaches 35C.
Middle East tensions are still high. On August 5, the Iranian city of Abadan recorded the year’s highest dry heat temperature, which was 53 degrees Celsius (127 degrees Fahrenheit). But when you add it to the area’s high levels of humidity, it makes it even less hospitable for people.
When the air is humid, it is more difficult to cool down because our bodies find it more difficult to transmit heat to “wet” air than to dry air. This makes it more difficult to sweat out heat and lower our body temperatures.
This summer, London’s temperatures were so high that tabloids ran headlines claiming that they were higher than those in sweltering Dubai.
European nations like Spain and Portugal set record highs one after another this year.
Indeed, the northern hemisphere experienced record temperatures, with drought endangering food supply and flames engulfing portions of Europe. Furthermore, temperatures in European towns were frequently higher than those in the Persian Gulf.
But according to experts, heat and humidity combined with temperature are a better indicator of a city’s livability than temperature alone. And for this reason, even in the same climate, the Middle East is much less livable than Europe.
Wet bulb temperature is the term used to describe the measurement of heat and humidity. The term derives from the method used to measure this situation, which is to physically wrap a wet cloth around a thermometer and track the temperature change as the water evaporates.
This directly refers to our body’s capacity to cool itself via perspiring.
According to Tapio Schneider, a professor of environmental science and engineering at the California Institute of Technology, “the wet bulb temperature is the lowest temperature that can be reached through evaporative cooling.” Schneider made this statement to CNN.
Particularly sensitive to the increase in global temperatures is the Middle East. He declared, “The area is already warm and can be humid.” “Global warming may so cause it to enter a zone where human health is at risk.”
On July 19, the UK had its warmest day ever, with a high of 40.3C in eastern England, breaking the 40-degree barrier for the first time. Both London and Dubai saw average temperatures of 34°C on the same day, but London’s wet bulb temperature was 20°C while Dubai’s was a more uncomfortable 27°C.
One of the few locations in the world to ever record a wet bulb temperature above the 35C mark for human viability is the Persian Gulf. There have been nine distinct instances of this documented since 2005.
The body can no longer cool itself to a temperature that can maintain normal operations when the wet bulb temperature reaches 35C.
According to Schneider, “It is a hard threshold for survivability in that humans cannot survive under those conditions, independent of age and fitness; they will die within hours without exceptional exertion.”
Even slightly below 35C for wet bulb temperatures is not recommended. He added, “Humans also experience heat exhaustion at lower wet bulb temperatures. And their level of fitness, age, and pre-existing ailments all play a role in how well they can withstand such heat stress.
The Persian Gulf’s oil-rich Arab kingdoms have installed energy-intensive air conditioning to protect themselves from the heat, but other nations in the region haven’t had the same advantages.
In Iraq, workers in the city of Basra were instructed to stay at home earlier this month owing to sweltering heat. Households only receive up to 10 hours of electricity per day from the national grid; those who can afford it purchase additional hours of electricity from private generator companies.
The three to four hours of electricity that Gazans receive everyday allow them to cool up after going up to 20 hours without power each day. The government of Lebanon no longer offers more than two hours of electricity each day.
Even in certain Gulf Arab nations, like Kuwait, where there is a building boom, not everyone, including construction workers working outside, has access to air conditioning.
According to Purdue University research, physical labour has a maximum of 31C at which point it becomes impossible for even healthy persons to work outside.
According to an MIT simulation, cities like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Doha would experience several yearly occurrences of annual maximum wet bulb temperatures exceeding the threshold for human survivability (35C) by the end of the century if the Persian Gulf’s greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate.
Iran accused US of inciting ‘crises’ in Middle East
Tehran accuses Washington of trying to create tensions and crises in the…