Rains are always welcome in the arid world and the sudden spur of low-pressure systems in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean have helped the region, including the Sultanate of Oman, to stay away from year-round drought.
The Sultanate of Oman with its linear coastline of nearly 3,000 km has been at the receiving end as well as the beneficiary of these tropical depressions as they are accompanied by moderate and heavy rains during the months of May and November.
While heavy rains help to bring down the temperature in summer, high-octane storms also cause heavy devastations that cause an equally heavy burden on the state exchequers.
It is not just untimely rains that are causing havoc, the temperatures in the Middle East have risen far faster over the past three decades, which often leads to more use of air-conditioners in offices, homes, and even vehicles.
“In the last ten years, we have been getting heavy rains from tropical systems at least three times a year. It may be not an Oman-specific phenomenon but what is important to understand is its impact on the national economy. We must rebuild some major roads after every spell of rain, though human lives are saved due to timely weather updates and accurate forecasts,” said a source in a leading infrastructure development company.
He added that it is necessary but future budgets will have to take these factors into account as rains and storms have become routine.
According to one Global Climate Risk Index, the Sultanate of Oman is among the countries at most at risk from climate change due to its proximity to major seas of the world.
As the region grows hotter and drier, the United Nations has warned that the Mideast’s crop production can also drop 30 per cent by 2025.
The region is expected to lose six per cent to 14 per cent of its GDP by 2050 because of water scarcity, according to the World Bank.
According to the National Strategy for Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change of the Civil Aviation Authority, urban areas of the Sultanate of Oman are more vulnerable to flash floods caused by heavy rains that can adversely affect insurance, real estate, telecommunications and infrastructure sectors of the government.
It may be also noted that the economies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are still dependent on the production and sale of oil and gas.
A research paper on the impact of Covid-19 on climate policy said that Gulf countries have changed their perception of climate change over the past two decades with some countries adopting net-zero targets.
All GCC countries have included bold renewable energy targets as part of their plans to reduce emissions.