Seawater temperatures in Kuwait Bay rising alarmingly since 1985

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Washington, December 1 (ANI): In a new research, scientists have determined that since 1985, seawater temperature in Kuwait Bay, northern Arabian Gulf, has increased on average 0.6 degree Celsius per decade, which is about three times faster than the global average rate reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Dr Thamer Al-Rashidi and his colleagues from the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK, used data on sea surface temperature (1985-2007) remotely sensed by a number of polar orbiting satellites to assess warming in Kuwait Bay and the Gulf region.

They found that the sea surface temperature of Kuwait Bay increased over the period at an average rate of around 0.62 degree C per decade, with an uncertainty of plus or minus 0.01 degree C.

This is about three times the rate of average global increase estimated by the IPCC.

The increase was greatest in the early summer and least during winter months. The length of summertime increased almost twice as fast as peak summertime temperature.

In 1998 and 2003, the monthly measurements of sea surface temperature showed unusually high peaks in summer temperature coincident with El Nino events - periodic warming of the atmosphere and ocean affecting weather in many parts of the world.

Temperature dipped in 1991, in the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

"Dense smoke from the burning of oil fields hung over the region blocking out the sun, and we believe that this atmospheric dimming caused the relatively low summertime temperature peak recorded that year," said Dr Al-Rashidi, an officer in the Kuwaiti Navy.

However, temperature then increased fairly steadily between 1992 and 2004.

"What all of this tells us is that the global trends reported by the IPCC may not be representative locally," said Dr Al-Rashidi.

The researchers estimate that about a third (0.2 degree C) of the observed decadal increase in seawater temperature in Kuwait Bay can be attributed to global climate change, while around 13 per cent of the increase (0.08 degree C) is due to human activity along the coast of the bay, especially the direct impacts of power and desalination plants.

The remaining 0.3 degree C (50 per cent) of decadal warming appears to be due to changes in regional drivers, including circulation and mixing of seawater in the Arabian Gulf, the influence of the dominant north-westerly wind, freshwater discharge from the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, and sand storms. (ANI)

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