A scientific study released Monday warns that at least five of the region’s great metropolises could see summer days that surpass the “human habitability” limit, with heat and humidity so high that even the healthiest people could not withstand more than a few hours outdoors.
The report in the journal Nature Climate Change says booming cities such Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha could cross the threshold by the end of the century, if planetary temperatures continue to rise at current rates. Not far behind is the Saudi holy city of Mecca, a destination for millions of Muslim pilgrims every year.
On the hottest summer days, inhabitants of those cities could experience a combination of heat and humidity so high that the human body is no longer capable of shedding the excess heat through perspiration, according to the report’s authors, a pair of scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Loyola Marymount University.
“Our results expose a regional hotspot where climate change, in the absence of significant mitigation, is likely to severely impact human habitability in the future,” the authors write in the study.