Scientists say major floods in Oman and UAE ‘most likely’ linked to climate change | Climate Crisis News

A new study has found that climate change caused by fossil fuel emissions is likely responsible for the extreme weather.

Global warming caused by fossil fuel emissions is “most likely” to have worsened the heavy rains that hit the UAE and Oman last week, causing deaths and widespread flooding, an expert group of scientists has found. .

World Weather Attribution (WWA), an international scientific organization that investigates extreme weather events, said climate change due to fossil fuel emissions is a possible cause, but it cannot be determined with “certainty”.

The study, compiled by 21 international researchers, found that regions experiencing El Niño events experienced a 10 to 40 percent increase in extreme rainfall.

“Warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels is the most likely explanation for the increase in rainfall,” WWA said in a study published Thursday.

The group added that there was “no other known explanation” for the sudden increase in rainfall.

Twenty-one people were killed in Oman and four in the United Arab Emirates, which suffered the heaviest rains since records began in the desert Gulf state 75 years ago.

Oil-producing countries are experiencing intense heat waves due to global warming. But last week’s floods revealed further risks of extreme weather events as the planet warms.

“Floods in the UAE and Oman showed that even arid regions can be strongly affected by precipitation events, which are increasing as global warming progresses due to the burning of fossil fuels,” WWA said. said Sonia Seneviratne, member and professor at ETH Zurich.

Four people die in United Arab Emirates (UAE) hit by heaviest rains since records began [Abdelhadi Ramahi/Reuters]

abnormal rain

The WWA study analyzed historical weather data and climate models to predict rainfall patterns in the region, including years affected by El Niño, a climate pattern that explains the unusual warming of surface waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. revealed changes.

They found that the intensity of extreme rain was significantly lower in the years before temperatures rose by 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial levels.

“Extreme rainfall events have become at least 10 percent more intense in the United Arab Emirates and Oman,” said Maryam Zakaria, a WWA member and researcher at Imperial College in London.

“This finding…is consistent with the fundamental physics that warmer atmospheres can hold more moisture.”

The storm first made landfall in Oman on April 14, killing at least 21 people in flash floods, Oman’s state news agency said.

A storm hit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on April 16, dumping almost two years’ worth of rain, flooding homes, roads, shopping malls and offices, and killing four people.

Dubai faced several days of severe disruption, with major roads closed due to flooding and power outages, and some residents confined to their homes. Dubai Airport, the world’s busiest airport for international travelers, did not return to full capacity until Tuesday, with 2,155 flights canceled and 115 diverted.

“The severity of the situation was unprecedented, but we are a country that learns from every experience,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the UAE, said on Wednesday, adding that housing announced a $544 million repair package.

Friederike Otto, a climatologist and WWA member, said that although the world agreed to “move away” from fossil fuels at COP28 in Dubai, nearly six months later, countries are still developing new oil and gas fields. He said he is continuing.

“If the world continues to burn fossil fuels, rainfall in many parts of the world will become more intense, resulting in more deadly and destructive flooding,” Otto said.

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