Middle East in Climate Cross Hairs

August 19, 2015

In this, undoubtedly the hottest year in the modern record, already well on the way to smashing the last record set in 2014, one of the hardest hit regions on earth is the already calamity-battered middle east.

Meanwhile, would-be leaders in the US remain stubbornly oblivious to the gathering climate-fueled political crisis. (above)


Bandar Mahshahr, Iran, soared to a staggering heat index of 163 degrees Friday afternoon as a heat wave continued to bake the Middle East, already one of the hottest places on earth.

“That was one of the most incredible temperature observations I have ever seen, and it is one of the most extreme readings ever in the world,” AccuWeather meteorologist Anthony Sagliani said in a statement.

While the temperature was “only” 115 degrees, the dew point was an unfathomable 90 degrees. On Thursday, the Iranian city of about 100,000 reached a heat index of 154 degrees. The combination of heat and humidity, measured by the dew point, is what makes the heat index — or what the temperature actually feels like outside.

“A strong ridge of high pressure has persisted over the Middle East through much of July, resulting in the extreme heat wave in what many would consider one of the hottest places in the world,” Sagliani said.

Baghdad sweltered to its all-time record high on Thursday when temperatures soared to 124 degrees, AccuWeather reported. The heat was so bad that Iraq’s Council of Ministers declared a four-day mandatory holiday throughout the country starting Thursday.

Thomas Friedman in the New York Times:

Then we saw something we’ve not seen before: An Iraqi government was sacked over its failure to deliver air conditioning. Two weeks ago, the prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, abolished all three vice-presidential posts and the office of deputy prime minister and proposed sweeping anti-corruption reforms after weeks of street protests over the fact that the government could supply electricity for air-conditioning for only a few hours a day during weeks of 120-degree temperatures.

As The Times’s Anne Barnard reported on Aug. 1, the heat issue in Iraq “has even eclipsed war with the Islamic State. The prime minister … declared a four-day weekend to keep people out of the sun … and ordered an end to one of the most coveted perks of government officials: round-the-clock power for their air-conditioners. …

“Several thousand people — workers, artists and intellectuals — demonstrated Friday evening … in the center of Baghdad, chanting and carrying signs about the lack of electricity and blaming corruption for it. … Some men stripped to their shorts and lay down in the street to sleep, a strong statement in a modest society. … The protest was unusual in that it did not appear to have been called for by any major political party.”

On Feb. 19, 2014, The Associated Press reported from Iran: “The first cabinet decision made under Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, wasn’t about how to resolve his country’s nuclear dispute with world powers. It was about how to keep the nation’s largest lake from disappearing. Lake Oroumieh, one of the biggest saltwater lakes on earth, has shrunk more than 80 percent to … (nearly 400 square miles) in the past decade, mainly because of climate change, expanded irrigation for surrounding farms and the damming of rivers that feed the body of water, experts say.

“ ‘The lake is gone. My job is gone. My children are gone. Tourists, too,’ said Mozafar Cheraghi, 58, as he stood on a dusty platform that was once his bustling teahouse.”

3 Responses to “Middle East in Climate Cross Hairs”

  1. I know someone who was recently sent to a part of the world where the heat-index was in the neighborhood of 150 F. When I talked to him a few days ago, he said that it was absolutely *impossible* to do any kind of productive work outdoors — **impossible**.

    So long before heat-index values get anywhere near fatal levels, they will absolutely kill productivity. In a sane world, conservatives who profess to care about the economic impacts of climate policy would be *very* concerned about the impacts of heat stress on productivity (and the larger economy).

    • skeptictmac57 Says:

      In a “sane world”, conservatives would not give Donald Trump the time of day, much less put him forth as a viable candidate for the most powerful political position on Earth. Maybe the heat has finally driven them (selectively) crazy.
      My guess is that any conservatives reading about the heat emergencies in the middle east, will most likely see it as a sign that ‘god’ hates the people of that region, and that they get what they deserve. Oh, and “Support the troops!!! Hoorah!!!”.

  2. Breaking news from Rick: 1 million middle classed Iraqis and 1.5 million Syrian farmers migrated into Syrian cities because of the great opportunities.

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