As the Mediterranean Sea gets hotter and hotter, extreme tropical weather could displace millions of people and, with it, change the geography of North African countries.
Rising global temperatures, mainly due to greenhouse gas emissions, will cause the displacement of millions of people from coastal cities in North Africa, according to a to study published in the journal Nature Research.
Melting glaciers and sea caps will raise global sea levels by dangerous margins by the end of this century. This will result in increasingly extreme weather conditions which could have the effect of displacing coastal communities in Tunisia and Egypt in particular.
The report warns that coastal towns in the Gulf of Tunis, which have a population of over 2 million, are at greater risk of sea level rise. They are expected to rise further. one meter by the end of the century.
Egypt, which is the most populous nation in the Arab world, is another country that the report says is at “very high risk” of population displacement due to rising sea levels.
Nearly 40 million of Egypt’s 100 million people live in the Delta region, where the Nile, through hundreds of arteries, flows into the Mediterranean Sea.
These lowlands have experienced unplanned urban development in recent decades with millions of people crowded into land that may now be at risk of flooding.
The analysis of the physical and social impact on the coastal areas of North Africa “is crucial to facilitate the implementation of flood risk management and protection of densely populated urban areas, as well as land agriculture, ”the document concludes.
“It is crucial to forecast these vulnerabilities in light of the expected increase in sea surface temperatures, which is leading to increased coastal flooding from severe weather events in the Mediterranean basin,” the report adds.
Tunisia and Egypt have a more than 70 percent chance of being affected by sea level rise. In contrast, Libya, nestled between the two states, has only a 7 percent chance.
The authors of the report focused on the growing impacts of climate change in the region.
In September 2018, the Tunisian coastal governorate of Nabeul saw large flash floods with up to 1.7 meters of rain, normally expected over a six month period, falling in one day.
Also in October 2019, the coastal region of Ariana experienced flooding that resulted in an average of 90 to 220 mm of precipitation in an hour, causing extensive property damage and loss of life.
The Nature Research Journal study also found that Egyptian coastal areas in October 2019 had been ravaged by “an extremely rare ‘drug’ bringing tropical storm force winds, heavy rains and coastal flooding.”
Since the 1980s, scientists leading the study have warned that surface temperatures have risen between 1 and 2 degrees.
Rising temperatures are likely to act as a catalyst for future storms in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.
“As these repeated extreme and unusual events occur along highly vulnerable coasts, more urban damage and environmental impacts are being felt,” the report concludes.
Source: TRT World