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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  18 Jul 2019

18 Jul 2019

Review status
A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal ACP.

Near East Desertification: impact of Dead Sea drying on convective rainfall

Samiro Khodayar1,2 and Johannes Hoerner1 Samiro Khodayar and Johannes Hoerner
  • 1Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-TRO), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 2Mediterranean Centre for Environmental Studies (CEAM), Valencia, Spain

Abstract. The Dead Sea desertification-threatened region is affected by continual lake level decline and occasional, but life-endangering flash-floods. Climate change has aggravated such issues in the past decades. In this study, the impact of the Dead Sea drying on the severe convection generating heavy precipitation in the region is investigated. Perturbation simulations with the high-resolution convection-permitting regional climate model COSMO-CLM and several numerical weather prediction (NWP) runs on an event time scale are performed over the Dead Sea area. A reference simulation covering the 2003 to 2013 period and a twin sensitivity experiment, in which the Dead Sea is dried out and set to bare soil, are compared. NWP simulations focus on heavy precipitation events exhibiting relevant differences between the reference and the sensitivity decadal realization to assess the impact on the underlying convection-related processes.

On a decadal scale, the difference between the simulations points out that in future regional climate, under ongoing lake level decline, a decrease in evaporation, higher air temperatures and less precipitation is to expect. Particularly, an increase in the number of dry days and in the intensity of heavy precipitation is foreseen. The drying of the Dead Sea is seen to affect the atmospheric conditions leading to convection in two ways: (a) the local decrease in evaporation reduces moisture availability in the lower boundary layer locally and in the neighbouring, directly affecting atmospheric stability. Weaker updrafts characterize the drier and more stable atmosphere of the simulations where the Dead Sea has been dried out. (b) Thermally driven wind system circulations and resulting divergence/convergence fields are altered preventing in many occasions convection initiation because of the omission of convergence lines.

Samiro Khodayar and Johannes Hoerner

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Samiro Khodayar and Johannes Hoerner

Samiro Khodayar and Johannes Hoerner


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