Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate Change May Boost Middle East Rainfall

Date:
August 13, 2008
Source:
University of New South Wales
Summary:
The prospect of climate change sparking food and water shortages in the Middle East is less likely than previously thought, with new research by an Australian climate scientist suggesting that rainfall will be significantly higher in key parts of the region.

The prospect of climate change sparking food and water shortages in the Middle East is less likely than previously thought, with new research by an Australian climate scientist suggesting that rainfall will be significantly higher in key parts of the region.

Recent projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) raised fears that storm activity in the eastern Mediterranean would decline this century if global warming continues on present trends. In turn, that would have reduced rainfall by between 15 and 25 per cent over a large part of the so-called Fertile Crescent.

This is land encompassing parts of Turkey, Syria, northern Iraq, and north-eastern Iran and the strategically important headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

When University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Centre researcher Dr Jason Evans analysed the IPPC projections, he found that the region's agricultural base faced significant challenges as a result. About 170,000 square kilometres of viable rain-fed agricultural land would be lost; a longer dry season would limit grazing on rangelands; and changes in the timing of maximum rainfall would force farmers in northern Iran to change cropping strategies and even crop types. The results are to be published in the journal Climatic Change.

But the IPCC projections were based on the results of global modelling of climate change, which tends to obscure smaller-scale regional effects.

"The global models are good for investigating what's likely to happen on a planetary scale but the resolution is quite coarse when looking at a more localised regional scale," says Dr Evans. "It's a bit like enlarging a digital photograph until it becomes pixellated and all sorts of detail is blurred out."

"Simulating the climate of the region is a challenge for climate models, due in part to the high natural inter-annual variability, the topography of the region - which includes multiple mountain ranges and inland seas - and the presence of a slight cooling trend in recent decades despite the global trend being a warming."

So in a second far more detailed study, to be published in the Journal of Hydrometeorology, Evans used regional climate modelling specific to the Middle East, and the result was very different.

It emerged that while storm activity over the eastern Mediterranean would indeed decline, moisture-bearing winds would be channelled inland more often and diverted by the Zagros Mountains, bringing an increase of over 50% in annual rainfall to the Euphrates-Tigris watershed.

"We need to confirm this result with other models, but a 50 per cent increase in rainfall in such an important agricultural area is a much more hopeful scenario than a 15 per cent decline," says Evans.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of New South Wales. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of New South Wales. "Climate Change May Boost Middle East Rainfall." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080813095724.htm>.
University of New South Wales. (2008, August 13). Climate Change May Boost Middle East Rainfall. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080813095724.htm
University of New South Wales. "Climate Change May Boost Middle East Rainfall." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080813095724.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins