Relationships between atmospheric circulation indices and rainfall in Northern Algeria and comparison of observed and RCM-generated rainfall

Abstract

This work aims, as a first step, to analyze rainfall variability in Northern Algeria, in particular extreme events, during the period from 1940 to 2010. Analysis of annual rainfall shows that stations in the northwest record a significant decrease in rainfall since the 1970s. Frequencies of rainy days for each percentile (5th, 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 90th, 95th, and 99th) and each rainfall interval class (1–5, 5–10, 10–20, 20–50, and ≥50 mm) do not show a significant change in the evolution of daily rainfall. The Tenes station is the only one to show a significant decrease in the frequency of rainy days up to the 75th percentile and for the 10–20-mm interval class. There is no significant change in the temporal evolution of extreme events in the 90th, 95th, and 99th percentiles. The relationships between rainfall variability and general atmospheric circulation indices for interannual and extreme event variability are moderately influenced by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and Mediterranean Oscillation. Significant correlations are observed between the Southern Oscillation Index and annual rainfall in the northwestern part of the study area, which is likely linked with the decrease in rainfall in this region. Seasonal rainfall in Northern Algeria is affected by the Mediterranean Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation in the west. The ENSEMBLES regional climate models (RCMs) are assessed using the bias method to test their ability to reproduce rainfall variability at different time scales. The Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques (CNRM), Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMI), Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ), and Forschungszentrum Geesthacht (GKSS) models yield the least biased results.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank Algerian institutions (Agence Nationale des Ressources Hydrauliques, Office National de Météorologie) for providing data series and assistance. The Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD, France) is gratefully acknowledged for its support of this research project. This project also benefited from support from the SIGMED (AUF, MeRSI) project.

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Taibi, S., Meddi, M., Mahé, G. et al. Relationships between atmospheric circulation indices and rainfall in Northern Algeria and comparison of observed and RCM-generated rainfall. Theor Appl Climatol 127, 241–257 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-015-1626-4

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Keywords

  • Regional Climate Model
  • Daily Rainfall
  • North Atlantic Oscillation
  • Extreme Rainfall
  • Rainfall Variability