Climate Change in the Eastern Mediterranean: Challenges for Coastal Cities
Coastal cities in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East (EMME) and the wider MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Region face severe challenges because of ongoing and anticipated global changes.
As part of a session on Past and ongoing climate changes in the Mediterranean region and their impacts on the environment and the human societies at the General Assembly 2019 of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) in Vienna, Manfred Lange, highlighted these challenges in a presentation on Climate Change in the Eastern Mediterranean: Challenges for Coastal Cities.
In addressing anticipated climate changes that exceed global mean values, Prof. Lange briefly explained that the impacts of these changes threaten water, energy, and food security in the MENA/EMME Region. He emphasized that global warming is enhanced in urban structures due to the “urban heat-island effect” resulting in projected summer temperatures during 2070-2099 far above current values. Recent measurements in major cities of the MENA Region already indicate deteriorating air quality with enlarged NO2– Ozone- and aerosol (PM2.5) values relative to established healthy limits. Numerical models project even worse conditions for the next decades to come, for instance, with regard to the frequency of dust storms. Low air quality in combination with heat waves results in significant health risks to urban residents.
To address these urban challenges, Prof. Lange presented a portfolio of technical and town-planning measures that can be employed as effective mitigation and adaptation measures. However, in order to cast these into convincing policy recommendation, more research is needed. We need to understand better the challenges of global changes in the context of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus. Moreover, have to identify concrete, “generic” strategies/measures for effective mitigation/adaptation strategies that can be applied in the MENA Region in general. Applying such strategies will enhance the resilience of local communities and urban centers in the EMME/MENA Region. Work by the Regional Advisory Committee of the Future Earth MENA Regional Center (FEMRC-RAC) is underway to outline and implement a Future Earth research agenda that will result in recommendations for policy makers on such strategies.