The Atmospheric Moisture Budget over the Eastern Mediterranean Based on the Super-High-Resolution Global Model – Effects of Global Warming at the End of the 21st Century

  • Pinhas AlpertEmail author
  • Fengjun Jin
Part of the The Anthropocene: Politik—Economics—Society—Science book series (APESS, volume 18)


Several reanalysis and model data sets, i.e., ERA-40, CRU and 20-km MRI-GCM, are employed to study the current and future changes in the wet season moisture fields over the Eastern Mediterranean (EM) including Turkey. The changes in moisture fields at the end of the present century, i.e. 2075–2099, are compared to the present period and discussed. It is shown that the very high-resolution 20 km GCM much better represents the current EM precipitation regime. Future projection of moisture fields suggests an increasing evaporation of about 12% and decreasing precipitation of about 7% over the EM at the end of this century. A significant decrease in precipitation was noticed over west Turkey, west Syria, Israel and Lebanon, with values of over 200 mm/wet season. In particular, the famous Fertile Crescent precipitation strip located over the ME also becomes much drier. The total moisture budget, usually expressed by the precipitation minus evaporation (P-E), confirms that a drier scenario is expected for the water body area and most of the coastline countries including southern Turkey. Analysis of the potential mechanism that controls the drying scenario shows that the precipitation recycling does not change between the present and the future. However, the moisture transport patterns over the EM explain the drying as follows. The subtropical mean flow of the low troposphere moves the moisture out of these regions, and there are not enough extra moisture sources to compensate in spite of the enhanced evaporation. One major conclusion is that the EM / ME topographic forcing including the physiographical changes effects are dominant. Therefore, high-resolution modelling plays a critical role in the atmospheric processes for this region.


East Mediterranean Evaporation Global warming Moisture budget Precipitation Super-high-resolution model 



For this research, we acknowledge GLOWA-JR support by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology. Also, partial support was given by DESERVE (Dead Sea Research Venue) and the Israel Water Authority. Thanks to A. Kitoh for providing the super-high-resolution global runs performed by the MRI/JMA.


  1. Alpert P, Ben-Gai T, Baharad A, Benjamini Y, Yekutieli D, Colacino M, Diodato L, Ramis C, Homar V, Romero R, Michaelides S, Manes A (2002) The paradoxical increase of Mediterranean extreme daily rainfall in spite of decrease in total values. Geophysical Research Letters 29:31.1–31.4.Google Scholar
  2. Alpert P, Krichak SO, Osetinsky I, Dayan M, Haim D, Shafir H (2008) Climatic trends to extremes employing regional modeling and statistical interpretation over the E. Mediterranean. Global Planet Change 63:163–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alpert P, Jin F, Shafir H (2011) Orographic precipitation simulated by a super-high resolution global climate model over the Middle East. In Fernando HJS, Klaić Z, McCulley JL (eds) National Security and Human Health Implications of Climate Change, Springer Publication in cooperation with NATO, pp 301–306.Google Scholar
  4. Evans JP (2009) 21st century climate change in the Middle East. Climate Change 92:417–432. Scholar
  5. Gibson JK, Kallberg P, Uppala S, Nomura A, Hernandez A, Serrano A (1997) ERA Description. ECMWF Reanalysis Project Report Series No 1:77.Google Scholar
  6. Held IM, Soden BJ (2006) Robust responses of the hydrological cycle to global warming. Journal of Climate 19:5686–5699.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. IPCC (2007) Fourth Assessment Report: Working Group II Report “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”; at:
  8. Jin F, Zangvil A (2010) Relationship between moisture budget components over the eastern Mediterranean. International Journal of Climatology 30:733–742.
  9. Jin F, Kitoh A, Alpert P (2010) Global warming projected water cycle changes over the Mediterranean, East and West: A comparison study of a super-high resolution global model with CMIP3. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 368:5137–5149. Scholar
  10. Jin F, Kitoh A, Alpert P (2011) Climatological relationships among the moisture budget components and rainfall amounts over the Mediterranean based on a super-high resolution climate model. Journal of Geophysical Research 116(D9).
  11. Kallberg P, Simmons A, Uppala S, Fuentes M (2004) The ERA-40 Archive, ERA-40 Project Report Series No. 17, European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecast, Reading: UK; 31.Google Scholar
  12. Kitoh A, Yatagai A, Alpert P (2008) First super-high-resolution model projection that the ancient Fertile Crescent will disappear in this century. Hydrological Research Letters 2:1–4. Scholar
  13. Krichak SO, Alpert P (2005) Decadal trends in the East-Atlantic West Russia pattern and the Mediterranean precipitation. International Journal of Climatology 25:183–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lionello P, Malanotte-Rizzoli P, Boscolo R (2006) Mediterranean climate variability. Developments in Earth & Environment Sciences, 4. Elsevier BV.Google Scholar
  15. Lu J, Vecchi G, Reichler T (2007) Expansion of the Hadley cell under global warming. Geophysical Research Letters 34:L06805.
  16. Mariotti A, Struglia MV, Zeng N, Lau KM (2002a) The hydrological cycle in the Mediterranean region and implications for the water budget of the Mediterranean Sea. Journal of Climate 15:1674–1690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mariotti A, Zeng N, Lau KM (2002b) Euro-Mediterranean rainfall and ENSO – a seasonally varying relationship. Geophysical Research Letters 29(12):59-1–59-4.
  18. Mitchell TD, Jones PD (2005) An improved method of constructing a database of monthly climate observations and associated high-resolution grids. International Journal of Climatology 25:693–712. Scholar
  19. Mizuta R, Oouchi K, Yoshimura H, Noda A, Katayama K, Yukimoto S, Hosaka M, Kusunoki S, Kawai H, Nakagawa M (2006) 20-km-mesh global climate simulations using JMA-GSM model Mean climate states. Journal of the Meteorological Society of Japan 84:165–185.Google Scholar
  20. Mizuta R, Adachi Y, Yukimoto S, Kusunoki S (2008) Estimation of the Future Distribution of Sea Surface Temperature and Sea Ice Using the CMIP3 Multi-model Ensemble Mean. Technical Report of the Meteorological Research Institute No 56.Google Scholar
  21. Özsoy E (1981) On the Atmospheric Factors Affecting the Levantine Sea, European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts, Technical Report No 25, Shinfied Park, Reading, U.K.Google Scholar
  22. Price C, Stone L, Huppert A, Rajagopalan B, Alpert P (1998) A possible link between El Niño and precipitation in Israel. Geophysical Research Letters 25:3963–3966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rasmusson EM (1968) Atmospheric water vapor transport and the water balance of North America. Part II: Large-scale water balance investigations. Monthly Weather Review 96:720–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rasmusson EM (1971) A study of the hydrology of eastern North America using atmospheric vapor flux data. Monthly Weather Review 99:119–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Seager R, Ting MF, Held I, Kushnir Y, Lu J, Vecchi G, Huang HP, Harnik N, Leetmaa A, Lau NC, Li CH, Velez J, Naik N (2007) Model projections of an imminent transition to a more arid climate in southwestern North America. Science 316(5828):1181–1184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Shafir H, Alpert P (1990) On the urban orographic rainfall anomaly in Jerusalem – A numerical study. Atmospheric Environment 24B(3):365–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Shay-El Y, Alpert P, DaSilva A (2000) Preliminary estimation of horizontal fluxes of cloud liquid water in relation to subtropical moisture budget studies employing ISCCP, SSMI and GEOS-1/DAS data sets. Journal of Geophysical Research 105( D14):18067–18089.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Yanai M, Esbensen S, Chu JH (1973) Determination of average bulk properties of tropical cloud clusters from large-scale heat and moisture budgets. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 30:611–627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Zangvil A, Druian P (1990) Upper air trough axis orientation and the spatial distribution of rainfall over Israel. International Journal of Climatology 10:57–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Zangvil A, Portis DH, Lamb PJ (1992) Interannual variations of the moisture budget over the Midwestern United States in relation to summer precipitation. Part II: Impact of local evaporation on precipitation. Extended Abstracts. Yale Mintz Memorial Symposium on Climate and Climate Change. Jerusalem, Israel, Israel Meteorological Society and American Meteorological Society 101.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeophysicsTel-Aviv UniversityTel-AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Xiamen Meteorological AdministrationXiamenChina

Personalised recommendations