Climate Dynamics

, Volume 37, Issue 1–2, pp 237–252 | Cite as

Spatiotemporal drought variability in northwestern Africa over the last nine centuries

  • Ramzi Touchan
  • Kevin J. Anchukaitis
  • David M. Meko
  • Mohamed Sabir
  • Said Attalah
  • Ali Aloui


Changes in precipitation patterns and the frequency and duration of drought are likely to be the feature of anthropogenic climate change that will have the most direct and most immediate consequences for human populations. The latest generation of state-of-the-art climate models project future widespread drying in the subtropics. Here, we reconstruct spatially-complete gridded Palmer drought severity index values back to A.D. 1179 over Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The reconstructions provide long-term context for northwest African hydroclimatology, revealing large-scale regional droughts prior to the sixteenth century, as well as more heterogeneous patterns in sixteenth, eighteenth, and twentieth century. Over the most recent decades a shift toward dry conditions over the region is observed, which is consistent with general circulation model projections of greenhouse gas forced enhanced regional subtropical drought.


Tree-ring Drought Climate field reconstruction Mediterranean Northwestern Africa 

Supplementary material

382_2010_804_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (678 kb)
PDF (678 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ramzi Touchan
    • 1
  • Kevin J. Anchukaitis
    • 2
  • David M. Meko
    • 1
  • Mohamed Sabir
    • 3
  • Said Attalah
    • 4
  • Ali Aloui
    • 5
  1. 1.Laboratory of Tree Ring ResearchThe University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Lamont Doherty Earth ObservatoryColumbia UniversityPalisadesUSA
  3. 3.National School of Forest EngineeringSaleMorocco
  4. 4.Department of AgronomyUniversity of OurglaOuarglaAlgeria
  5. 5.Institute of Sylvo-pastoral of TabarkaTabarkaTunisia

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