Present and future land surface and wet bulb temperatures in the Arabian Peninsula

Title Present and future land surface and wet bulb temperatures in the Arabian Peninsula
Publication Type Journal Article
Year of Publication 2022
Authors Safieddine S., Clerbaux C., Clarisse L., Whitburn S., & Eltahir, E. A. B.
Journal Environmental Research Letters
Volume 17
Start Page 044029
Date Published 18 March
Keywords Arabian Peninsula, land surface temperature, wet bulb temperature, extreme heat, IASI, ERA5, climate projections

The Arabian Peninsula exhibits extreme hot summers and has one of the world’s largest population growth. We use satellite observations and reanalysis as well as climate model projections to analyze morning and evening land surface temperatures (LST), to refer to processes at the surface, and wet bulb temperatures (WBT) to measure human heat stress. We focus on three regions: The Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, the inland capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh and the irrigated agricultural region in Al-Jouf, Saudi Arabia. This study shows that the time of the day is important when studying LST and WBT, with current and future WBT higher in the early summer evenings. It also shows that the effect of humidity brought from waterbodies or through irrigation can significantly increase heat stress. Over the coasts of the Peninsula, humidity decreases LST but increases heat stress via WBT values higher than 25°C in the evening. Riyadh, located in the heart of the Peninsula has lower WBT of 15°C to 17.5°C and LST reaching 42.5°C. Irrigation in the Al-Jouf province decreases LST by up to 10° with respect to its surroundings, while it increases WBT by up to 2.5°. Climate projections over the Arabian Peninsula suggest that global efforts will determine the survivability in this region. The projected increase in LST and WBT approaches +6° and +4°C respectively in the Persian Gulf and Riyadh by the end of the century, posing significant risk on human survivability in the Peninsula unless strict climate mitigation takes place.

DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/ac507c
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