Global warming impact on the dominant precipitation processes in the Middle East.

Evans, J.P.
Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 99 (3-4), 389-402, 2010.


In this study, the ability of a regional climate model, based on MM5, to simulate the climate of the Middle East at the beginning of the twenty-first century is assessed. The model is then used to simulate the changes due to global warming over the twenty-first century. The regional climate model displays a negative bias in temperature throughout the year and over most of the domain. It does a good job of simulating the precipitation for most of the domain, though it performs relatively poorly over the southeast Black Sea and southwest Caspian Sea. Using boundary conditions obtained from CCSM3, the model was run for the first and last 5 years of the twenty-first century. The results show widespread warming, with a maximum of ~10 K in interior Iran during summer. It also found some cooling in the southeast Black Sea region during spring and summer that is related to increases in snowfall in the region, a longer snowmelt season, and generally higher soil moisture and latent heating through the summer. The results also show widespread decreases in precipitation over the eastern Mediterranean and Turkey. Precipitation increases were found over the southeast Black Sea, southwest Caspian Sea, and Zagros mountain regions during all seasons except summer, while the Saudi desert region receives increases during summer and autumn. Changes in the dominant precipitation-triggering mechanisms were also investigated. The general trend in the dominant mechanism reflects a change away from the direct dependence on storm tracks and towards greater precipitation triggering by upslope flow of moist air masses. The increase in precipitation in the Saudi desert region is triggered by changes in atmospheric stability brought about by the intrusion of the intertropical convergence zone into the southernmost portion of the domain.

Key Figure

change in seasonal mean precipitation

Figure 5: MM5/CCSM modeled change in seasonal mean precipitation (2095–2000). The 0.9 (0.99) significance level is indicated by the thin (thick) dotted line

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