Climate is usually defined as the ’average weather’ in a place over a period of time, ranging from months to thousands or millions of years. The classical period is 30 years. It includes patterns of temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind and seasons. Climate patterns play a fundamental role in shaping natural ecosystems as well as the human economies and cultures that depend on them. Climate change manifests itself in a variety of ways, including changes in temperature, rainfall and sea level, in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.
(Based on mid-year revised 2012 population estimates provided by SCAD)
Rapid growth in demographic, social and economic development and the ever-increasing demand for water and energy are the main drivers for the increasing pressure exerted by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The principal source of GHGs in Abu Dhabi Emirate is the combustion of fossil fuels by the energy and transportation sectors.
The current pressures of climate change are shifting. Earlier concerns of ozone-depleting substances have diminished due to effective regulatory controls and awareness. However, there are new concerns about GHG emissions from power and fuel production, road transport, metal production and other manufacturing, and waste disposal sectors.
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is already experiencing the effects of climate change, including increases in air and sea temperatures, sea level rise, higher acidity and salinity of marine water, and reduced rainfall.
The emirate is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This is due to the extreme arid climate and low-lying coastal areas, which are home to the majority of people and economic activity. Impacts include increased storm surges and erosion, which affect coastal development and coastal nesting species such as turtles, as well as habitat loss and die-off, such as coral bleaching.