Climate change and impacts in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East
The Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East (EMME) are likely to be greatly affected by climate change, associated with increases in the frequency and intensity of droughts and hot weather conditions. Since the region is diverse and extreme climate conditions already common, the impacts will be disproportional. We have analyzed long-term meteorological datasets along with regional climate model projections for the 21st century, based on the intermediate IPCC SRES scenario A1B. This suggests a continual, gradual and relatively strong warming of about 3.5–7°C between the 1961–1990 reference period and the period 2070–2099. Daytime maximum temperatures appear to increase most rapidly in the northern part of the region, i.e. the Balkan Peninsula and Turkey. Hot summer conditions that rarely occurred in the reference period may become the norm by the middle and the end of the 21st century. Projected precipitation changes are quite variable. Annual precipitation is expected to decrease in the southern Europe – Turkey region and the Levant, whereas in the Arabian Gulf area it may increase. In the former region rainfall is actually expected to increase in winter, while decreasing in spring and summer, with a substantial increase of the number of days without rainfall. Anticipated regional impacts of climate change include heat stress, associated with poor air quality in the urban environment, and increasing scarcity of fresh water in the Levant.