Extreme heat may make parts of the Gulf region uninhabitable, says Eltahir. Rich countries may be able to adapt, but poor ones, like Yemen, will be less able to deal with the danger.
Eltahir told Al-Fanar Media that he decided to specialise in climate studies relating to water scarcity “because access to water is closely related to the nature of the prevailing climate in each country.”
He believes that there is not enough public interest in climate and water issues in the Arab region and Africa, which he attributes to low incomes and declining levels of education.
He said people must be educated about the use of certain types of cars, electricity sources, and types of farming to mitigate the effects of climate change. He also advocates homes being designed to limit the impact of climate change.
Extreme Heat in Gulf Region
Eltahir’s research has focused on developing methods for predicting local effects of climate change.
A study he conducted with Jeremy Pal, of Loyola Marymount University, published in the journal Nature Climate Change in 2015, found that parts of the Arabian Gulf region may be exposed to deadly heat because of climate change.
The Gulf states’ “climate makes it a regional hotspot, which may affect future human habitability in some areas of these countries,” he said. Many Gulf countries are rich and “may be able to adapt to extreme weather,” he added. But poor countries, such as Yemen, will be less able to deal with the danger over the next three decades.
Eltahir also collaborated on a study that used climate models to predict future heat stress during Hajj seasons, especially when Hajj occurs during summer.
Eltahir and his co-authors projected that climate change will elevate heat stress in Mecca and surrounding areas to levels above the “extreme danger threshold” during the years between 2047 to 2052 and 2079 to 2086.