SOUTHHAMPTON, England, Dec. 1 (UPI) — British scientists say the water temperature of Kuwait Bay in the northern Arabian Gulf has increased three times faster than the global average since 1985.
Researcher Thamer al-Rashidi of Britain’s National Oceanography Center, who led the study, said the higher water temperatures are having profound effects on key habitats and on power generation.
Al-Rashidi and his colleagues used data gathered by satellites from 1985 to 2007 to assess warming in Kuwait Bay and the Gulf region.
The scientists said the temperature dipped in 1991, during the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait when dense smoke from burning of oil fields blocked sunlight during the summer. However, the water temperature then increased fairly steadily from 1992 to 2004.
“What all of this tells us,” al-Rashidi said, “is that the global trends reported by the (U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) may not be representative locally.”
The researchers estimate about a third of the observed increase in Kuwait Bay’s water temperature can be attributed to global climate change, approximately 13 percent to human activity along the coast, with the remainder apparently due to changes in regional drivers, including circulation and mixing of seawater in the Arabian Gulf and sand storms.
The report appeared in the July issue of the journal Natural Hazards.
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