The Projected Death of the Fertile Crescent

  • Pinhas Alpert
  • Fengjun Jin
  • Akio Kitoh


Projections of rainfall and stream flow in the Mediterranean and the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East are presented here for the end of the twenty-first century. Up until recently, this has not been possible due to the lack of observed data and atmospheric models with sufficient resolution. An innovative super-high-resolution (20-km) global climate model is employed, which properly reproduces the moisture fields of the present-day climate over the study area. The model projected that the Fertile Crescent will lose its current shape and may disappear altogether by the end of this century. The annual discharge of the Euphrates River will decrease by 29–73 %, as will the stream flow in the Jordan River . Thus countermeasures for water shortages will become much more difficult.


Stream Flow River Discharge Couple Model Intercomparison Project Phase River Model Caucasus Mountain 
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The modeling was done under the framework of the Projection of the Changes in Future Weather Extremes Using Super-High-Resolution Atmospheric Models supported by the KAKUSHIN Program of the Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture, Science, and Technology of Japan (MEXT). The calculations were performed on the Earth Simulator. AK/AY/PA were supported by the research project on the “Impact of Climate Changes on Agricultural Production System in Arid Areas (ICCAP)” by the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN), and AK/AY by the Project APHRODITE, Asian Precipitation -Highly Resolved Observational Data Integration Towards Evaluation of the Water Resources (APHRODITE’s Water Resources) Global Environment Research Fund by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan. PA thanks the support by the BMBF, Germany through the GLOWA-Jordan River Project. ICCAP and APHRODITE are thanked for the funding required purchasing the precipitation data and for capacity building activities over the Middle East. The EU project DARECLIMED is acknowledged for supporting the research on “Data repositories and computational infrastructure for environmental and climate studies in the E. Mediterranean ” and PA in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geophysics, Atmospheric and Planetary SciencesTel-Aviv UniversityTel-AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Climate Change Monitoring and Assessment CenterXiamen Meterological AdministrationXiamen CityChina
  3. 3.Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

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