EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Present and future land surface and wet bulb temperatures in the Arabian Peninsula

Sarah Safieddine1, Simon Whitburn2, Lieven Clarisse2, and Cathy Clerbaux1,2
Sarah Safieddine et al.
  • 1LATMOS/IPSL, Sorbonne Université, UVSQ, CNRS, Paris, France
  • 2Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Spectroscopy, Quantum Chemistry and Atmospheric Remote Sensing (SQUARES), Brussels, Belgium

The Arabian Peninsula exhibits extreme hot summers and has one of the world's largest population growth. We use satellite observations and reanalysis as well as climate model projections to analyze morning and evening land surface temperatures (LST), to refer to processes at the surface, and wet bulb temperatures (WBT) to measure human heat stress. We focus on three regions: The Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, the inland capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh and the irrigated agricultural region in Al-Jouf, Saudi Arabia. This study shows that the time of the day is important when studying LST and WBT, with current and future WBT higher in the early summer evenings. It also shows that the effect of humidity brought from waterbodies or through irrigation can significantly increase heat stress.

Over the coasts of the Peninsula, humidity decreases LST but increases heat stress via WBT values higher than 25°C in the evening. Riyadh, located in the heart of the Peninsula has lower WBT of 15°C to 17.5°C and LST reaching 42.5°C. Irrigation in the Al-Jouf province decreases LST by up to 10° with respect to its surroundings, while it increases WBT by up to 2.5°. Climate projections over the Arabian Peninsula suggest that global efforts will determine the survivability in this region. Even under the sustainability scenario, the projected increase in LST and WBT reaches +10° and +5°C respectively in the Persian Gulf and Riyadh by 2100 posing significant risk on human survivability in the Peninsula.

How to cite: Safieddine, S., Whitburn, S., Clarisse, L., and Clerbaux, C.: Present and future land surface and wet bulb temperatures in the Arabian Peninsula, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-8601,, 2022.