Changing Climate in the MENA Means Changing Energy Needs
The leading authority on climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has
concluded that warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and will continue for centuries. The regions
in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) have experienced numerous extreme climate events over
the past few years including the 2009 flooding in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; the 2005 dust storm
in Al Asad, Iraq; water scarcity throughout the Arab MENA; and the rising sea levels on the Nile Delta
coast, Egypt. A climate baseline can be developed for regions in the MENA by locating climate stations in
the study area using observations made in the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). For projections
of future climate, global climate models (GCMs), mathematical equations that describe the physics, fluid
motion and chemistry of the atmosphere, are the most advanced science available. The Climate Research
Lab at the University of Prince Edward Island has a dataset available to researchers, called the Climate,
Ocean and Atmosphere Data Exchange (COADE), that provides easy access to the output from forty
global climate models used in the deliberations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s
(IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) including monthly global climate model projections of future climate
change for a number of climate parameters including temperature and precipitation. Over the past 50
years, climate changes in the MENA Region have led to increases in annual mean temperatures and
decreases in annual total precipitation. Applying all four greenhouse gas emission futures on a base
climate normal of 1981-2010 to an ensemble of forty global climate models used in the Fifth Assessment
Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR5) results in future temperature
increases for the MENA Region ranging from 1.6 to 2.3 degrees Celsius, and in a range of future
precipitation changes from reductions of 11 percent to increases of 36 percent by the 2050s (2041-2070).
These preliminary results should assist the MENA Region in planning its energy needs and its needs for
renewable energy through increasing the understanding of how climate has impacted the region in the
past, and how climate will impact in the future.
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Copyright (c) 2015 Adam Fenech
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Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development
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Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT)