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A review of drought in the Middle East and Southwest Asia

Barlow, M., Zaitchik, B., Paz, S., Black, E., Evans, J. and Hoell, A. (2016) A review of drought in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. Journal of Climate, 29 (23). pp. 8547-8574. ISSN 1520-0442

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00692.1

Abstract/Summary

The Middle East and Southwest Asia comprise a region that is water-stressed, societally vulnerable, and prone to severe droughts. Large-scale climate variability, particularly La Niña, appears to play an important role in region-wide drought, including the two most severe of the last fifty years—1999-2001 and 2007-2008—with implications for drought forecasting. Important dynamical factors include orography, thermodynamic influence on vertical motion, storm track changes, and moisture transport. Vegetation in the region is strongly impacted by drought and may provide an important feedback mechanism. In future projections, drying of the eastern Mediterranean is a robust feature, as are temperature increases throughout the region, which will affect evaporation and the timing and intensity of snowmelt. Vegetation feedbacks may become more important in a warming climate. There are a wide range of outstanding issues for understanding, monitoring, and predicting drought in the region, including: dynamics of the regional storm track, the relative importance of the range of dynamical mechanisms related to drought, regional coherence of drought, the relationship between synoptic-scale mechanisms and drought, predictability of vegetation and crop yields, stability of remote influences, data uncertainty, and the role of temperature. Development of a regional framework for cooperative work and dissemination of information and existing forecasts would speed understanding and make better use of available information.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:60208
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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