Climate Conditions and Their Impact on Water Resources
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The mean annual temperature is 25 °C, with slightly cooler temperatures in the eastern mountains. The mean monthly relative humidity over UAE is around 60% during winter and around 50% during summer, varying between 46% in May to 64% in December. The two wind systems affecting the UAE are the winter “Shamal” winds, which affect the western coast, and the summer monsoon, which affects the Gulf of Oman and eastern mountain areas. The average annual evaporation is 3322 mm, while the mean annual rainfall is 100 mm for the period 1976–2015.
The principal rains fall between November and March, with the maximum intensity during February and March, and about 90% of the precipitation falls during winter and spring. The wettest months are February and March, when 60% of precipitation is received. February is the rainiest month, with an average of 37.9 mm, while June is the driest month with an average of 0.3 mm. However, rainfall is extremely variable in space and time, depending on the climatic conditions, geographic location, local topography and rainfall driving mechanism.
Global warming and climate change cause variations in temperature and rainfall, a decline of aquifer recharge, a shortage in irrigation water, a depletion of aquifers and increasing soil salinity. Data collected by the National Center of Meteorology and Seismology from stations based in airports around the country indicated a rise of 0.6–2.7 °C in temperature. Changes in temperature and rainfall pose additional pressure on the limited conventional water resources in the country.
A detailed climate-change modeling study of Abu Dhabi Emirate indicates increasing water consumption in response to the increase of municipal and industrial uses. However, reductions in agricultural water use could maintain future water use equal to current consumption levels.
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