Monday, November 28, 2011

Arab region to face extreme weather events

Sajeev K. Peter in the Kuwait Times: The Arab region and the North Africa could witness extreme weather events as a result of the rapid urbanization and climate change, said a UN expert. In an exclusive interview with the Kuwait Times on the sidelines of 19th ASEAN Summit 2011 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Margareta Wahlstrom, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General of Disaster Risk Reduction, said many of the countries in the region are already severely affected by water stress, probably one of the most significant issues today.

This water stress will grow as a significant phenomenon in the near future as water will become a real dilemma of the region," she said quoting a Special Report prepared by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that was released recently. The report discusses issues that range from the relationship between climate change and extreme weather and climate events (climate extremes) to the implications of these events on society and sustainable development.

Citing the incidents of flash floods in Jeddah and cyclone in Oman in the recent past, she said, "You will see more of these kinds of very unpredictable and extreme events we have not seen before." Asserting the important role non-climatic factors play in determining impacts, Wahlstrom said these are not only the results of changes in the weather. "The rapid urbanization over the last 25 years has contributed a lot to such disasters"...

A dust storm stretching from Saudi Arabia to Iran, shot by NASA in March, 2010

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