Hail, flash floods in UAE desert: Blame it on climate change

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July 14, 2019 |
https://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/dubai/hail-flash-floods-in-the-desert-blame-it-on-climate-change-1
by Sarwat Nasir/Dubai

In the UAE, a senior official from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment said there have been “observable changes” in the climate.

The impact of climate change is increasingly starting to show in the UAE as residents experience longer hot and humid seasons with changing patterns of rainfall, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has said.

The effects of climate change are being felt across the region. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait saw record temperatures recently, with the mercury shooting up to 55°C and 63°C, respectively. Bahrain also recorded its highest temperature since 1902 at 45.3°C.

In the UAE, a senior official from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment said there have been “observable changes” in the climate like flash floods, longer electrical storms and rains. Rising sea levels also pose a risk.

“People in the Middle East already feel the impacts of climate change in all aspects of their lives. Based on current projections, such impacts will continue to grow in intensity and frequency,” Qais Bader Al Suwaidi, assistant expert of climate change at the ministry, told Khaleej Times. “Climate change in the GCC region has contributed to higher temperatures and humidity.”

Talking specifically about the UAE, Al Suwaidi said climate change amplifies the issues of water scarcity and limited arable land, which adversely affect agriculture. This increases the country’s dependence on food imports.

Flash floods in Ras Al Khaimah have become all too common, while the northern parts of the country experience hail frequently.

(Continued)

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Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.