Baghdad Is Covered In Snow For The First Time In More Than A Decade
Residents in Baghdad couldn’t believe their eyes when they woke up to find their city transformed after its second snowfall in a century.
Those residing in the Iraqi capital – old and young – rushed to take photographs and partake in snowball fights during the rare weather event, which is the first of its kind since 2008.
In 2008, however, the snowfall the capital saw was brief and mostly slushy, meaning the snow never settled and the ground wasn’t carpeted as it is now.
Prior to 2008, it had been a century since Baghdad saw any snow, so many Iraqis said this was the first time they had ever seen snow falling in the capital city.
Palm trees across the city were covered in snow, as were tents belonging to protesters in long-running anti-government demonstrations in Tahrir Square.
Amer al-Jaberi, media head of the Iraqi Meteorological Centre, said snowfall ‘may continue until Wednesday given the very cold weather’, explaining that the cold wave had come from Europe, as per MailOnline.
The people of Baghdad are far more acclimatised to hot weather than cold, with the highest temperature recorded in the capital being a soaring 51°C in 2016 – a record it has neared several times in recent years.
In addition to this unbearable heat, Iraq has been hit by a succession of extreme weather events in recent years, with chronic water shortages in 2018 sparking a health crisis in the central region and the south.
The following year, heavy rains caused deadly flooding and significant damage to homes and crops, forcing villagers in south-eastern Iraq to evacuate their houses. More than 100,000 people were left without access to clean water and sanitation, while a further 20,000 people were displaced.
That wasn’t the end of the extreme weather conditions though, with blistering temperatures then hitting the north, triggering wildfires and scorching crops.
According to a 2018 report by the Expert Working Group on Climate-related Security Risk, Iraq is considered one of the Middle East and North Africa’s (MENA) ‘most climate vulnerable countries’, with increasing temperatures and reduced precipitation contributing to ‘alarming water scarcity’ as well as severe droughts.
The report states:
Climate change is currently manifesting itself in prolonged heat waves, erratic precipitation, higher than average temperatures and increased disaster intensity.
Although it’s not been confirmed the snowfall is a direct result of the climate crisis, experts say Iraq lacks the funding or infrastructure to cope with climate change and the desertification of once-productive land, according to Al Jazeera.
UNILAD has reached out to the World Meteorological Organization and the Iraqi Meteorological Organization for clarification.
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Expert Working Group on Climate-related Security Risk