Impacts of Climate Change in Morocco
Regional Climate Projections
Though Morocco is in Africa, information from the Europe and Mediterranean portion of chapter 14, Climate Phenomena and their Relevance for Future Regional Climate Change is used, as they sorted North Africa, including Morocco, into the Mediterranean region.
Morocco is projected to experience many different climate phenomena. Some of these phenomena are Extratropical Cyclones (ETCs) which are low pressure systems that can bring cold fronts and warm fronts. North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which is the change of atmospheric pressure at sea level which can affect winds, and in turn storm location and intensity. And blocking, a phenomena where storms will stall because a high-pressure system is “blocking” the winds that move the weather systems, which will make storms of either temperature last much longer than usual. These phenomena may team up in the future to affect the weather in Morocco, which is why the reading says that winters in Morocco will be slightly warmer, while the summer months will see a more intense warming. Morocco is also projected to see less precipitation in the summer months, which will also extend any heat waves they experience throughout the summer.
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As you can see in the above image, many of the risks threatening Africa are centered on water. These are: too much or too little precipitation, sea level rise, or issues with the usable water. Morocco has both arid climates as well as semi-tropical climates, so any of these risks pose great danger to the country. Morocco’s most populated city is Casablanca, a coastal city that may be threatened by sea level rise in the near future. Morocco may also face a greater risk of wild fires in its fertile plains and mountains as drought increases. Maybe the greatest possible risk Morocco faces is flood. The beginning of Morocco’s monsoon season may bring more precipitation that usual in the future; mix this with drought conditions and there could be great flooding in major cities.
According to the Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) A1B and A2 scenarios, Africa is going to experience much more warming than the rest of the globe. In fact, this warming is projected to be anywhere from 3°C to 6°C by the end of the century. The figure below shows just how extreme this warming may be.
SRES A1B and A2 also show that parts of Africa will see a decrease in precipitation, specifically northern and southwestern Africa. Morocco is located in Northern Africa and would be directly impacted by a decrease in precipitation. The below figure shows possible precipitation decreases for the continent.
Morocco doesn’t have any extreme events on climatesignals.org, but that doesn’t mean climate change isn’t impacting them. In January of 2016, Hurricane Alex formed in the Atlantic and made landfall on the islands of Azores. This was very unusual; Alex was the first Atlantic hurricane to form in January since 1955. If you look at the below image, you’ll see that the islands of Azores are not far from Morocco.
Though nearly impossible for a hurricane to cause direct damage to Morocco, you can see that at this distance, some storms will still have some impact on the country’s weather. And if these rare hurricanes become more common in the future due to climate change, they could pose a constant risk to these countries.
Another risk facing the country of Morocco is heat waves. In August of 2017, a heat wave named ‘Lucifer’ hit countries like Spain and Italy for several days. These countries experienced temperatures over 40°C (104°F) during this period. June, July, and August of 2003 were even worse for Europe. During these months, over 70,000 people died due to the month’s long heat wave. Looking at the below figure, you’ll again see that Morocco is quite close to the countries that were affected by this heat wave. If the climate continues to warm, Morocco may be experiencing heat waves like these in the near future.