Identification of Tropical-Extratropical Interactions and Extreme Precipitation Events in the Middle East Based On Potential Vorticity and Moisture Transport

A. J. de Vries, H. G. Ouwersloot, S. B. Feldstein, M. Riemer, A. M. El Kenawy, M. F. McCabe, J. Lelieveld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Extreme precipitation events in the otherwise arid Middle East can cause flooding with dramatic socioeconomic impacts. Most of these events are associated with tropical-extratropical interactions, whereby a stratospheric potential vorticity (PV) intrusion reaches deep into the subtropics and forces an incursion of high poleward vertically integrated water vapor transport (IVT) into the Middle East. This study presents an object-based identification method for extreme precipitation events based on the combination of these two larger-scale meteorological features. The general motivation for this approach is that precipitation is often poorly simulated in relatively coarse weather and climate models, whereas the synoptic-scale circulation is much better represented. The algorithm is applied to ERA-Interim reanalysis data (1979–2015) and detects 90% (83%) of the 99th (97.5th) percentile of extreme precipitation days in the region of interest. Our results show that stratospheric PV intrusions and IVT structures are intimately connected to extreme precipitation intensity and seasonality. The farther south a stratospheric PV intrusion reaches, the larger the IVT magnitude, and the longer the duration of their combined occurrence, the more extreme the precipitation. Our algorithm detects a large fraction of the climatological rainfall amounts (40–70%), heavy precipitation days (50–80%), and the top 10 extreme precipitation days (60–90%) at many sites in southern Israel and the northern and western parts of Saudi Arabia. This identification method provides a new tool for future work to disentangle teleconnections, assess medium-range predictability, and improve understanding of climatic changes of extreme precipitation in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)861-881
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Volume123
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 27 2018

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Middle East
Upper atmosphere
Steam
potential vorticity
Vorticity
water vapor
moisture
vorticity
identification method
Moisture
Precipitation (meteorology)
transport structure
socioeconomic impact
Climate models
climate models
teleconnection
Saudi Arabia
interactions
precipitation intensity
subtropics

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

Cite this

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title = "Identification of Tropical-Extratropical Interactions and Extreme Precipitation Events in the Middle East Based On Potential Vorticity and Moisture Transport",
abstract = "Extreme precipitation events in the otherwise arid Middle East can cause flooding with dramatic socioeconomic impacts. Most of these events are associated with tropical-extratropical interactions, whereby a stratospheric potential vorticity (PV) intrusion reaches deep into the subtropics and forces an incursion of high poleward vertically integrated water vapor transport (IVT) into the Middle East. This study presents an object-based identification method for extreme precipitation events based on the combination of these two larger-scale meteorological features. The general motivation for this approach is that precipitation is often poorly simulated in relatively coarse weather and climate models, whereas the synoptic-scale circulation is much better represented. The algorithm is applied to ERA-Interim reanalysis data (1979–2015) and detects 90{\%} (83{\%}) of the 99th (97.5th) percentile of extreme precipitation days in the region of interest. Our results show that stratospheric PV intrusions and IVT structures are intimately connected to extreme precipitation intensity and seasonality. The farther south a stratospheric PV intrusion reaches, the larger the IVT magnitude, and the longer the duration of their combined occurrence, the more extreme the precipitation. Our algorithm detects a large fraction of the climatological rainfall amounts (40–70{\%}), heavy precipitation days (50–80{\%}), and the top 10 extreme precipitation days (60–90{\%}) at many sites in southern Israel and the northern and western parts of Saudi Arabia. This identification method provides a new tool for future work to disentangle teleconnections, assess medium-range predictability, and improve understanding of climatic changes of extreme precipitation in the Middle East and elsewhere.",
author = "{de Vries}, {A. J.} and Ouwersloot, {H. G.} and Feldstein, {S. B.} and M. Riemer and {El Kenawy}, {A. M.} and McCabe, {M. F.} and J. Lelieveld",
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Identification of Tropical-Extratropical Interactions and Extreme Precipitation Events in the Middle East Based On Potential Vorticity and Moisture Transport. / de Vries, A. J.; Ouwersloot, H. G.; Feldstein, S. B.; Riemer, M.; El Kenawy, A. M.; McCabe, M. F.; Lelieveld, J.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 123, No. 2, 27.01.2018, p. 861-881.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Identification of Tropical-Extratropical Interactions and Extreme Precipitation Events in the Middle East Based On Potential Vorticity and Moisture Transport

AU - de Vries, A. J.

AU - Ouwersloot, H. G.

AU - Feldstein, S. B.

AU - Riemer, M.

AU - El Kenawy, A. M.

AU - McCabe, M. F.

AU - Lelieveld, J.

PY - 2018/1/27

Y1 - 2018/1/27

N2 - Extreme precipitation events in the otherwise arid Middle East can cause flooding with dramatic socioeconomic impacts. Most of these events are associated with tropical-extratropical interactions, whereby a stratospheric potential vorticity (PV) intrusion reaches deep into the subtropics and forces an incursion of high poleward vertically integrated water vapor transport (IVT) into the Middle East. This study presents an object-based identification method for extreme precipitation events based on the combination of these two larger-scale meteorological features. The general motivation for this approach is that precipitation is often poorly simulated in relatively coarse weather and climate models, whereas the synoptic-scale circulation is much better represented. The algorithm is applied to ERA-Interim reanalysis data (1979–2015) and detects 90% (83%) of the 99th (97.5th) percentile of extreme precipitation days in the region of interest. Our results show that stratospheric PV intrusions and IVT structures are intimately connected to extreme precipitation intensity and seasonality. The farther south a stratospheric PV intrusion reaches, the larger the IVT magnitude, and the longer the duration of their combined occurrence, the more extreme the precipitation. Our algorithm detects a large fraction of the climatological rainfall amounts (40–70%), heavy precipitation days (50–80%), and the top 10 extreme precipitation days (60–90%) at many sites in southern Israel and the northern and western parts of Saudi Arabia. This identification method provides a new tool for future work to disentangle teleconnections, assess medium-range predictability, and improve understanding of climatic changes of extreme precipitation in the Middle East and elsewhere.

AB - Extreme precipitation events in the otherwise arid Middle East can cause flooding with dramatic socioeconomic impacts. Most of these events are associated with tropical-extratropical interactions, whereby a stratospheric potential vorticity (PV) intrusion reaches deep into the subtropics and forces an incursion of high poleward vertically integrated water vapor transport (IVT) into the Middle East. This study presents an object-based identification method for extreme precipitation events based on the combination of these two larger-scale meteorological features. The general motivation for this approach is that precipitation is often poorly simulated in relatively coarse weather and climate models, whereas the synoptic-scale circulation is much better represented. The algorithm is applied to ERA-Interim reanalysis data (1979–2015) and detects 90% (83%) of the 99th (97.5th) percentile of extreme precipitation days in the region of interest. Our results show that stratospheric PV intrusions and IVT structures are intimately connected to extreme precipitation intensity and seasonality. The farther south a stratospheric PV intrusion reaches, the larger the IVT magnitude, and the longer the duration of their combined occurrence, the more extreme the precipitation. Our algorithm detects a large fraction of the climatological rainfall amounts (40–70%), heavy precipitation days (50–80%), and the top 10 extreme precipitation days (60–90%) at many sites in southern Israel and the northern and western parts of Saudi Arabia. This identification method provides a new tool for future work to disentangle teleconnections, assess medium-range predictability, and improve understanding of climatic changes of extreme precipitation in the Middle East and elsewhere.

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JF - Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

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