Climate Change Induced Saudi Hajj Heatwave By 2.5 Degrees: Scientists

by | Jun 29, 2024 | Climate Crisis, Environmental News

Home » Environmental News » Climate Change Induced Saudi Hajj Heatwave By 2.5 Degrees: Scientists

A deadly heatwave in Saudi Arabia is responsible for the deaths of 1,300 pilgrims during the hajj this month. As per European scientists, climate change induced the Saudi Hajj Heatwave by 2.5 degrees.

Saudi Hajj Heatwave

Record Temperatures

From June 16 to 18, temperatures soared to 47 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit) along the pilgrimage route. It further exceeded 51.8 degrees Celsius at Mecca’s Great Mosque.

ClimaMeter, which rapidly assesses the impact of climate change on specific weather events, performed a weather analysis. It revealed that without human-caused climate change, the heat would have been about 2.5 degrees Celsius cooler.

ClimaMeter’s scientists used satellite data from the past four decades. They did it to compare weather patterns between 1979 to 2001 and 2001 to 2023. They found that extreme temperatures have long been a feature of the desert region.

However, at the same time, natural variability alone could not account for this month’s intense heatwave. Climate change, they concluded, had intensified the heat.

Impact on Pilgrims

The heatwave’s timing during the hajj made the situation particularly dire. “The deadly heat during this year’s hajj is directly linked to fossil fuel burning,” scientist Davide Faranda said. He’s a scientist at France’s National Centre for Scientific Research and contributed to the ClimaMeter analysis.

Historically, severe heat waves in Saudi Arabia occurred in May and July. However, the current climate crisis has made June more prone to extreme temperatures. The increase in heat wave frequency, intensity, and duration is a global trend. Reports state that the heatwaves globally are now, on average, 1.2 degrees Celsius hotter than during pre-industrial times.

Medical authorities often attribute deaths to heat-related cardiac or coronary illnesses. However, experts believe the extreme heat likely contributed to many of the 1,300 hajj deaths.

Call for Action

The deadly consequences of this heatwave have prompted urgent calls for climate action. Mohamed Adow highlighted Saudi Arabia’s significant role in global oil production and its impact on climate policies. He’s the director of the nonprofit Power Shift Africa.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s second-largest oil producer after the United States. It has a significant carbon footprint. State oil firm Saudi Aramco is the world’s largest corporate emitter of greenhouse gases. It reportedly contributes over 4% of the world’s historical carbon emissions.

The scientists’ findings underscore the urgent need for global climate action to prevent further tragedies. The fact that climate change induced the Saudi Hajj heatwave is quite concerning. As temperatures are rising due to climate change, the safety and well-being of millions of people is in question.

Also Read: Canada Restarts Cod Fishery After 32 Years To Restore Stocks

Author

  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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