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Recent changes in the rain regime over the Mediterranean climate region of Israel

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Abstract

Previous observational analyses have shown a declining rainfall trend over Israel, mostly statistically insignificant. The current study, for the period 1975–2020, undermines these findings, and the alarming future projections, and elaborates other ingredients of the rain regime. No trend is found for the annual rainfall, reflecting a balance between a negative trend in the number of rainy days and a positive trend in the daily rainfall intensity, both on the order of 2.0%/decade. In the mid-winter, the rainfall and the daily intensity increased, while both declined in the autumn and spring, implying a contraction of the rainy season. The time span between accumulation of 10% and 90% of the annual rainfall, being 112 days on the average, shortened by 7 days during the study period. This is also expressed by an increase of the Seasonality Index, indicating that the regional climate is shifting from “markedly seasonal with a long dry season” to “most rain in ≤3 months.” The intra-seasonal course of the rainfall trend corresponds to that of the occurrence and intensity of the Cyprus Lows and the Mediterranean Oscillation. The contraction of the rainy season and the increase in the daily intensity have far-reaching environmental impacts in this vulnerable region.

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Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the Israeli Science Foundation (ISF, grant number 2253/20), the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology (grant number 62596), and the Water Authority of Israel (grant number 4501683730) that helped in funding this study. The authors wish to thank the Israel Meteorological Service and especially Mr. Yizhak Yosef from the Climate Department of the Israel Meteorological Service for providing the homogenized rainfall data and Mrs. Judith Lempert for language editing.

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Appendix

Appendix

The prediction equations for the annual rainfall, number of rainy days, and daily rainfall intensity, together with the normalized coefficients (Betas) are presented in Table 4. The predictors are specified in Section 2.

Table 4 Regression equations and normalized coefficients for the rain variables

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Drori, R., Ziv, B., Saaroni, H. et al. Recent changes in the rain regime over the Mediterranean climate region of Israel. Climatic Change 167, 15 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-021-03161-6

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