The ability of the regional model RegCM2 to simulate the climate of South-West Asia is examined. The climate of the region displays high spatial, seasonal and interannual variability, providing a strong test of climate model capabilities. RegCM2 captures the spatial variability of temperature and precipitation despite cold biases being present in the model. RegCM2 does not capture the annual cycle of precipitation on the Black and Caspian Sea coasts where very steep topography exists, nor on the eastern Mediterranean coast where the coastal mountains are not resolvable. RegCM2 does capture the seasonal cycle in the Fertile Crescent and Zagros mountains, where it is strongly influenced by a plateau circulation above the Iranian plateau. It is shown that accurate simulation of precipitation in these regions, including the inter-annual variability, requires the correct simulation of both storm tracks and topographic interactions. Through the use of regional climate models the concentration and transport pathways of water vapor through the Middle East can be explored. The results demonstrate that short lived 'events' have little impact on monthly mean atmospheric fields yet provide a significant amount of the precipitated water which flows in the Tigris river.
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Last updated 31st January 2013