Climate Dynamics

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 63–78 | Cite as

Wet season Mediterranean precipitation variability: influence of large-scale dynamics and trends

  • E. Xoplaki
  • J. F. González-Rouco
  • J. Luterbacher
  • H. Wanner
Article

Abstract

The influence of the large-scale atmospheric circulation at several tropospheric levels on wet season precipitation over 292 sites across the Mediterranean area is assessed. A statistical downscaling model is designed with an objective methodology based on empirical orthogonal functions and canonical correlation analysis (CCA) and tested by means of cross-validation. In all 30% of the total Mediterranean October to March precipitation variability can be accounted for by the combination of four large-scale geopotential height fields and sea level pressure. The Mediterranean sea surface temperatures seem to be less relevant to explain precipitation variability at interannual time scale. It is shown that interdecadal changes in the first CCA mode are related to variations in the North Atlantic Oscillation index and responsible for comparable time scale variations of the Mediterranean precipitation throughout the twentieth century. The analysis reveals that since the mid-nineteenth century precipitation steadily increased with a maximum in the 1960s and decreased since then. The second half of the twentieth century shows a general downward trend of 2.2 mm·month–1·decade–1.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to express their thanks to the following institutions or persons, who kindly provided their valuable instrumental time series, through which the climate analysis for the Mediterranean region was made possible (in alphabetical order of the countries). Albania: Prof. Sanxhaku, Academy of Sciences, Hydrometeorological Institute, Tirana; Algeria: Dr. M. Kadi, Office National de la Météorologie Climate Center, Dar el Beida, Alger; Austria: Drs. I. Auer, R. Böhm and W. Schöner, Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik (ZAMG), HOHE WARTE 38, Vienna; Bosnia-Herzegovina: Dr. E. Sarac, Federal Meteorological Institute, Sarajevo; Bulgaria: National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia and D. Lister, Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich; Croatia: Dr. M. Gajic-Capka, Meteorological and Hydrological Service of Croatia, Department for Meteorological Research, Zagreb; Cyprus: Dr. L. Hadjioannou, Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Meteorological Service, Nicosia; Greece: Hellenic National Meteorological Service, Hellinikon, Athens; Israel: Dr. A. Porat, Ministry of Transport, Israel Meteorological Service; Bet Dagan; Italy: Colonel Dr. M. Capaldo, Aeronautica Militare, Centro Nazionale di Meteorologia e Climatologia Aeronautica Aeroporto Pratica di Mare, Pomezia; Jordan: Dr. H. AL Sha’er, The Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan, Meteorological Department Climate Division Amman Civil Airport, Amman; Lebanon: Dr. A. Bejjani, Republic of Lebanon, Ministry of Transport, Meteorological Services, International Airport of Beyrouth, Beyrouth; Libya: Dr. K. Elfadli, Libyan Meteorological Department, Climatological and Agrometeorological Section, Tripoli; Moldavia: Dr. L. Fisher, Hidrometeo Service (Chimet), Chisinau; Romania: Dr. A. Busuioc, National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, Bucharest; Skopje: Dr. N. Aleksovska, Hydrometeorological Institute of the FYR Macedonia, Meteorological and Climatological division, Skopje; Slovenia: Dres. T. Ovsenik-Jeglié, J. Miklavçiç and B. Zupani, Hydrometeorological Institute of Slovenia, Ministry of the environment and Physical Planning, Ljubliana; Spain: Universidad Computense de Madrid, Madrid; Switzerland: Swiss Meteorological Office, (SMA MeteoSchweiz), Zurich Tunisia: Dr. M. Ketata and Prof. H. Hajji, République tunesienne, Ministére de Transport, Institute National de la Météorologique, Tunis-Carthage. For Egypt, France, Hungary, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Serbia, Syria and Turkey the data have been obtained from the GHCN (Global Historical Climatology Network) version 2b and/or where kindly provided by the German Meterological Service (DWD), Geschäftsfeld Seeschifffahrt and David Lister, Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. Tommaso Abrate, Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, WMO, Geneva, Switzerland, provided us with addresses and relevant information on how to contact the responsible persons and institutions from the different countries. We also thank NCEP/NCAR for providing their reanalysis data. We are indebted to the British Meterological Office for the preparation of the gridded SST data. Dr. Elena Xoplaki was partially supported by Fifth Framework Programme of the European Union (project SOAP); Dr. J. Fidel González-Rouco was partially funded by project REN-2000-0786-cli and REN-2002-04584-C04-01-CLI; Dr. Jürg Luterbacher was supported by the Swiss Science Foundation (NCCR Climate). The authors wish to thank the Marchese Francesco Medici del Vascello Foundation for financial support. We thank Paul Della-Marta for proofreading the English text. The authors thank Dr. Gidon Eshel and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive comments on this manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag  2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Xoplaki
    • 1
  • J. F. González-Rouco
    • 2
  • J. Luterbacher
    • 1
    • 3
  • H. Wanner
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of GeographyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Departamento de Astrofísica y Ciencias de la AtmósferaUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain
  3. 3.NCCR ClimateUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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