Global Warming and its Implications on Meteorological and Hydrological Drought in the Southeastern Mediterranean

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Abstract

The Southeastern Mediterranean is a semiarid marginal area which is highly sensitive to small perturbations in global climate. This area is projected to become warmer and drier which will in turn intensify drought frequency and severity, leading to serious adverse consequences on water resources, soil moisture regime, land productivity, socio-economic and political stability. The present paper assesses precipitation, temperature and drought trends, using the Palmer Drought Severity Index and data from six synoptic meteorological stations situated in the mountainous areas of Jordan and operating during the past 40 to 60 years. The Mann-Kendall non-parametric test and the Sen’s method were implemented to test drought trend and magnitude during the study period. Results show that average annual temperature increased substantially in all stations, while precipitation has dropped appreciably in the southern region. Drought frequency and severity have become more distinct near the turn of the twenty-first century, particularly in the southern region. Soil moisture regime within the top one meter shows a tangible declining trend, particularly in the southern stations. Five multispectral Landsat images taken during the period 1987 through 2015 were used to monitor land cover changes in the most southern location where drought trend is more severe. Land cover as deduced from the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index reveals that barren land increased appreciably at the expense of other land covers between 2000 and 2015. Findings indicate that global warming is intensifying drought frequency and severity in the eastern Mediterranean, thereby posing challenging economic, societal and political consequences which need to be urgently addressed.

Keywords

Eastern Mediterranean Water resources Drought trend Composite hazard Global climate change Food security 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank the associate editor and the four anonymous reviewers for their critical and constructive comments which significantly improved the manuscript.

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical GeographyMu’tah UniversityKarakJordan

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