Influence of African Atmospheric Rivers on Precipitation and Snowmelt in the Near East's Highlands

Bozkurt D., Sen Ö. L., Ezber Y., Guan B., Viale M., Caglar F.

JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, vol.126, no.4, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 126 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1029/2020jd033646
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Aerospace Database, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), CAB Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, Environment Index, Geobase, Greenfile, INSPEC, Metadex, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Euphrates&#8208, Tigris Basin, extreme precipitation, hydrometeorology, moisture transport, runoff, snow, EXTREME PRECIPITATION, MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATE, INLAND PENETRATION, SYNOPTIC-SCALE, VARIABILITY, MOISTURE, IMPACTS, WATER, CIRCULATION, TRANSPORT
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Atmospheric rivers (ARs) traveling thousands of kilometers over arid North Africa could interact with the highlands of the Near East (NE), and thus affect the region's hydrometeorology and water resources. Here, we use a state-of-the-art AR tracking database, and reanalysis and observational datasets to investigate the climatology (1979-2017) and influences of these ARs in snowmelt season (March-April). The Red Sea and northeast Africa are found to be the major source regions of these ARs, which are typically associated with the eastern Mediterranean trough positioned over the Balkan Peninsula and a blocking anticyclone over the NE-Caspian region, triggering southwesterly air flow toward the NE's highlands. Approximately 8% of the ARs are relatively strong (integrated water vapor transport >similar to 275 kg m(-1) s(-1)). AR days exhibit enhanced precipitation over the crescent-shaped orography of the NE region. Mean AR days indicate wetter (up to + 2 mm day(-1)) and warmer (up to + 1.5 degrees C) conditions than all-day climatology. On AR days, while snowpack tends to decrease (up to 30%) in the Zagros Mountains, it can show decreases or increases in the Taurus Mountains depending largely on elevation. A further analysis with the observations and reanalysis indicates that extreme ARs coinciding with large scale sensible heat transport can significantly increase the daily discharges. These results suggest that ARs can have notable impacts on the hydrometeorology and water resources of the region, particularly of lowland Mesopotamia, a region that is famous with great floods in the ancient narratives.