The birthplace of three major religions and civilization, the Middle East has always been a dry place. The basic climate of the Middle East is hot and dry, although winters are mild with a little rain. To the north of the desert are the great steppes. This area has extremes of temperature and rain in winter and spring. Rest of the area has rainfall between March and November and sometimes floods from March to May. Summers are long and hot and winters mild and wet along the Mediterranean coast. The coastal areas are humid but have a steady breeze to compensate.
Rainfall and temperature vary considerably across the Middle East and even within countries. The Caspian Sea coast of northern Iran receives up to 2000 mm of rain a year, while the desert regions of Iran often receives no rain at all for many years. Temperatures also vary by region. Ankara in the central plateau region of Turkey averages 32°F in January and 73°F in July.
Low-lying coastal regions of the Arabian Peninsula of Jordan and Iraq, and those bordering the Mediterranean Sea have much more moderate winter temperatures: Jeddah in western Saudi Arabia averages 75°F in January and 89°F in July. Lowland desert areas in the interior regions of the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Iraq, and Egypt have extreme heat in the summer, with temperatures sometimes reaching 77°F or higher.
Across the Middle East, summer temperatures are usually around 85 F, but often rise above 100. In Baghdad, the record high is 120 F; in Basra, 124 F, the highest temperatures recorded in any major Middle Eastern city. In the Saudi desert, however, temperatures over 120 F are common. Most storms crossing the Middle East become dust- or sandstorms when strong winds whip the dry desert surface; as many as 38 occur annually.
The impact of global warming which is expected to bring rise in temperatures between 3.2F and 7F, melt ice caps and submerge coastal areas will force those living in Middle East to move inland, and face even more scorching summers. It is likely to affect the oil production and have far reaching impact on the Middle East economy.