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Kuwait braces for rains after scorching summer

KUWAIT: This file photo shows vehicles driving through rain on a highway in Kuwait. The photo is used for illustration purposes only. – Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh

KUWAIT: After a summer of searing heat and record temperatures, Kuwait is bracing for the arrival of the rainy season. Relevant state bodies have been making preparations for weeks, with memories of the 2018 floods still fresh in many people’s minds, when the equivalent of around three months of rain fell in one day. The extreme rise in temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns are suggesting that climate change is impacting Kuwait as well, along with the rest of the world.

The United Nations said on Tuesday Asia suffered its hottest year on record in 2020, ahead of the COP26 summit, with extreme weather taking a heavy toll on the continent’s development. Asia’s warmest year on record saw the mean temperature 1.39 degrees Celsius above the 1981-2010 average. In July, Kuwait registered one of the year’s highest temperatures of 53.5 degrees Celsius in the northern Al-Jasra area.

According to Al-Fintas Observatory Director and Meteorologist Adel Saadoun, light to moderate rain is expected today and tomorrow. “It’s the prelude to the rainy season. It will be cloudy the whole day with light to moderate southeasterly wind with a speed of 8 to 32 km/h with the probability of scattered rain,” he said. “In the night, the skies will be partly cloudy to cloudy with light to moderate southeasterly wind with speeds of 12 to 38 km/h with a chance of scattered light rain and probability of light fog over some areas. The maximum temperature will be 36 degrees Celsius and minimum 24,” he added.

Earlier this week, HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said Kuwait fully supports the efforts of Saudi Arabia and the package of initiatives it has put forward to protect the environment and tackle the challenges of climate change. He affirmed Kuwait’s commitments to tackle climate change challenges by signing and ratifying regional and international agreements and protocols and participating in relevant conferences.

Kuwait is at the forefront of countries seeking to achieve human and environmental sustainability and is a supportive partner for regional and international efforts to combat climate change challenges, HH the Crown Prince said. Locally, Kuwait launched its environmental strategy within the (2035 New Kuwait) vision, in addition to legislations concerned with environment protection laws, rationalizing the consumption of natural resources, reducing pollution, preserving the integrity of the environment, rehabilitating its systems, protecting biodiversity and improving the efficiency of waste management, HH Sheikh Mishal added.

In its annual “State of the Climate in Asia” report, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization said every part of Asia had been affected. “Extreme weather and climate change impacts across Asia in 2020 caused the loss of life of thousands of people, displaced millions of others and cost hundreds of billions of dollars, while wreaking a heavy toll on infrastructure and ecosystems,” the WMO said. “Sustainable development is threatened, with food and water insecurity, health risks and environmental degradation on the rise.”

The report comes days before COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference being held in Glasgow from Sunday to Nov 12. Increased heat and humidity are forecast to lead to an effective loss of outdoor working hours across the continent, with a potential cost of many billions of dollars. “Weather and climate hazards, especially floods, storms, and droughts, had significant impacts in many countries of the region,” said WMO chief Petteri Taalas. “Combined, these impacts take a significant toll on long-term sustainable development.”

In 2020, average sea surface temperatures reached record high values in the Indian, Pacific and Arctic Oceans. Sea surface temperatures and ocean warming in and around Asia are increasing more than the global average. They have been warming at more than triple the average in the Arabian sea, and parts of the Arctic Ocean. Arctic sea ice minimum extent (after the summer melt) in 2020 was the second lowest on the satellite record since 1979. – Agencies


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