Published in: PLoS ONE
The duration and intensity of future heat waves are analyzed for 53 cities in the Middle East and the North Africa (MENA) region for the 21 st century under two different scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5). A consistent approach is carried out using data from 13 Regional models within the framework of the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX). By the end of the century, 80% of the most populated MENA cities are expected to be at least 50% of the days under heat wave conditions during the warm season. In addition, the mean and maximum intensity of the heat waves will also increase. Changes in the duration and intensity of heat waves have shown to be negatively correlated. Therefore, the vulnerability of the MENA cities to future heat waves was determined using a cumulative index (CI) that takes into account both duration and intensity. This CI indicates that Middle East and the eastern part of Africa will suffer the most unfavorable temperature conditions in the future. Assuming no intervention trough adaptation/mitigation strategies, these results, together with the particular properties of the MENA region, such as aridity or lack of precipitation, make it likely that the area will be affected by disease or famine.