Published in Nature: Climate Change, the studies examined both how the climate in southwest Asia will respond to varying levels of carbon dioxide emissions and at exactly what temperature everyday life will become unbearable.
To calculate at what point life becomes impossible, the researchers used calculations that take into account both heat and humidity and arrive at a survival time of six hours at 95°F (35°C).
The research used a standard model of carbon emissions established by a group of scientists under direction from the UN, called Representative Concentration Pathways, and they depict four different scenarios for emissions for the next eighty-five years. Two scenarios were used to examine the effect of climate change on the Middle East; the first represents a world in which humans mitigate climate change to some extent, and the second represents a world in which no action is taken at all.
In the second scenario, the Middle East becomes uninhabitable, particularly near the Red Sea and Gulf. Study authors Jeremy Pal of Loyola and Elfatih A. B. Eltahir of MIT explain that there is little cloud cover in the area and that the ground itself does not reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere, meaning that all the heat ends up on the ground.
For people who believe in karma, it is the perfect punishment for the oil and gas operations in that part of the world, since they will likely be completely unable to work during the day if the second climate scenario is indeed what occurs. Of course, little access to air conditioning will also impact the poor the most, as Gizmodo points out. There could be some very serious consequences waiting in the future.
Image (c) AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed