By Faranak Bakhtiari

Will unprecedented heat hit Iranian cities by 2050?

July 17, 2019 - 20:46

TEHRAN – A new study reveals that how 520 major cities worldwide might face unprecedented climate conditions by 2050, including the Iranian capital city of Tehran which could feel as warm as San Bernardino and California in the United States.

Conducted by Crowther lab research group based at university of ETH Zürich, Switzerland, the study predicted that several cities having over 1 million populations will experience record breaking heat waves by the next 30 years due to climate change.

The study suggests that 77 percent of the cities will resemble more closely to the current conditions of other cities in different bioclimatic regions, under an optimistic climate scenario (RCP 4.5). Moreover, 22 percent of them including Singapore and Kuala Lumpur will experience climate conditions that are not currently experienced by any existing major cities.

It also chose eight major cities of Iran, as well; through which, Tehran could feel as hot as San Bernardino by 2050, with Karaj's climate more like to that of current-day Qom, while Qom feeling like Baghdad, Iraq, and Esfahan like Mexicali, Mexico.

Tabriz temperature could resemble Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Kermanshah as warm as Phoenix, Arizona; Ahvaz more similar to Basra, Iraq; and finally Mashhad feel like Quetta, Pakistan.

Also, a 6 to 2°C temperature increase could change these cities in response to climate change.

Qom, Karaj and Tehran will face the most dramatic temperature changes in the country; as are expected to become 6.6, 6.5, and 6.2°C warmer, during the hot seasons resulting in a mean annual temperature raise of 2.5, 2.6, 2°C, respectively.

Climate conditions represented a bit worse

Sadeq Ziaeian, the director of the National Drought Warning and Monitoring Center, affiliated to Iran’s Meteorological Organization (IMO) told the Tehran Times on Wednesday that however, such researches are being conducted worldwide, the study cannot be rejected.

Our predictions for how hot Iran can get in the future has been conducted using different scenarios, but the results are somehow similar to those forecasted by this research center, he added.

He went on to explain that through those predicted by the IMO, the cities will face temperature rise of about 6°C under a pessimistic climate scenario, while through an optimistic one the cities can shift 2°C warmer due to climate change.

Although the study has been conducted under an optimistic climate scenario, it represented the climate condition somehow worse than it could really be, he concluded.

Other cities facing climate change worldwide

London could be facing severe drought, as Barcelona did in 2008, when it nearly ran out of drinking water and was forced to import water from France at a cost of £20 million.

By 2050, Madrid also will feel more like Marrakesh, Seattle will feel like San Francisco, and New York will feel like Virginia Beach, according to the study.

Will it really get 2°C warmer?

Let’s look at it from another point of view:

According to an ongoing temperature analysis conducted by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 0.8° C since 1880. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15-0.20°C per decade.

Earth’s global surface temperature in 2018 was the fourth warmest since modern recordkeeping began in 1880; also the past five years are, collectively, the warmest years in the modern record.

Atmospheric models predict that the earth temperature will increase from 1 to 3.5°C by the year 2100, which is more than temperature changes during the past 10,000 years.

Based on the research and assessment carried out by United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and using the scenarios proposed by Intergovernmental Panel on

Climate Change (IPCC), it is estimated that if the CO2 concentration doubles by the year 2100, the average temperature in Iran will increases by 1.5-4.5°C.

What would be the consequences?

Climate change is a fact that cannot be ran over, whether the temperature raises over 2 or 6°C, natural incidents such as flooding, droughts, and severe storms are among the main consequences of climate change.

Moreover, water and food shortages, water-borne illnesses, cold or heat-related deaths will come up as the results of temperature variations; in tropical areas also the risk of floods will raise.

Heavy rain and other extreme weather events will become more frequent, which can lead to floods along with decreasing water quality, but also decreasing availability of water resources in some regions.

Climate change will also bring extreme wet and dry seasons, which mainly causes rainfall fluctuations and water scarcity; the same experience happened in the country this year, as torrential rain started on March 19 led to flood in at least 25 out of 31 provinces of Iran and caused extensive damages.

While there has been prolonged droughts nationwide in past recent years leaving people scrambling for water, then precipitation started since the current crop year (September 23, 2018), hitting the record highs and being so heavy that cities flood.

Based on the latest data published by the National Drought Warning and Monitoring Center, since the current crop year (September 23, 2018), precipitation in the country considerably increased to 312 from 159.3 millimeters in the previous water year, demonstrating a 95.9 percent rise. 
So, nations must take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the future, preventing the emissions peak, otherwise they might not be able to breathe on the planet in the future, or migrate to other places if found.

The study may also come efficient when it comes to making the people aware of climate change impact in their own city, within their lifetime, to avoid experiencing an entirely new climate that are beyond human experience.


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