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The Arctic Oscillation, climate change and the effects on precipitation in Israel

June 27, 2013

The Arctic Oscillation (AO) has been found in previous studies to be a major synoptic factor affecting the climate of many regions in the high and mid-latitudes. This paper demonstrates the physical process by which the AO affects the climate of the Eastern Mediterranean basin, with a focus on precipitation in Israel as a case study.

It is shown that a trend of increasing AO is associated with a substantial decrease of winter precipitation from the Iberian Peninsula, though Italy, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, as well as Lebanon, Syria and also the northern parts of Israel. Winter rain is slightly increased in the southern coast of the eastern half of the Mediterranean Sea. The immediate meteorological causes are shown to be a larger northerly component of the flow over the Mediterranean Sea, associated with a decreasing relative humidity and stability, except over the southern coast, where the air mass has the longest track over the relatively warm water. We suggest here that the observed changes in air flow that drives the precipitation trends can be explained by shifts in the AO that can be partially explained by increasing greenhouses gases. Results from the IPCC multi climate models show that the AO will continue to increase during the 21st century. This increase may lead to a continuation of the trends discussed here.

The importance of the analysis provided here is in pointing out the possibility that processes that have been predicted by global warming and changes in global circulation have already started to affect precipitation and major water resources in the Mediterranean basin.

Givati A, Rosenfeld D, 2013, The Arctic Oscillation, climate change and the effects on precipitation in Israel, Atmospheric Research, 132–133, 114–124, doi:10.1016/j.atmosres.2013.05.001. Article.


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