Iraq Nearly Shut Down In May 2022
An increase in global warming driven sand storms in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia has closed airports, schools, and government offices and sent thousands to the hospital with respiratory issues. The monster storms cover an area from Dubai to Damascus with biting sand particles swirling down from an apocalyptic orange sky. The region has been in a growing drought for more than a decade as hotter, drier conditions are forecast to continue and worsen.
As is the case with most climate driven events, the sand storm blitz is also exacerbated by other human activities especially unwise management of agriculture.
Just as droughts, violent storms and floods are not new, sand storms have long been a naturally occurring phenomenon in this part of the world. But the frequency and intensity are rising significantly, far outside any natural cycle.
The World Bank estimates health costs alone in excess of $13 billion, with hidden costs such as equipment failure an cleanup largely unaccounted for. Climate scientists call these storms unprecedented, with occurrences up to three times more frequent than long established averages. Officials predict that the current level of 272 “dust days” per year will increase to over 300 by mid- century.