Identification of major moisture sources across the Mediterranean Basin

Batibeniz F., Ashfaq M., Önol B., Turuncoglu U. U. , Mehmood S., Evans K. J.

CLIMATE DYNAMICS, vol.54, pp.4109-4127, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 54
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00382-020-05224-3
  • Journal Name: CLIMATE DYNAMICS
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, PASCAL, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), Artic & Antarctic Regions, CAB Abstracts, Geobase, Greenfile, INSPEC, Pollution Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.4109-4127
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


We employ a Lagrangian based moisture back trajectory method on an ensemble of four reanalysis datasets to provide a comprehensive understanding of moisture sources over the Mediterranean land region (30 degrees N-49.5 degrees N and 9.75 degrees W-61.5 degrees E) at seasonal timescales for 1980-2013 period. Using a source region between 10 degrees S-71.35 degrees N along the latitude and 80 degrees W-84.88 degrees E along the longitude that is subdivided into ten complimentary sub-regions, our analyses is able to backtrack up to > 90% of seasonal precipitation at each grid point within the target region. Our results indicate a significant role of moisture advected from the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, and locally recycled moisture over the target region in shaping the spatial organization of seasonal precipitation. However, a clear east-west contrast is witnessed in determining the relative importance of each of these major moisture sources where the North Atlantic dictates the moisture supply over the western Mediterranean while moisture from Mediterranean Sea and local recycling play a key role over the eastern Mediterranean. Our analyses also demonstrate a major footprint of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) on precipitation variability over the Mediterranean land as dynamic and thermodynamic anomalies during the negative phase of NAO match with those during wet years and vice versa. The findings reported here are generally consistent across the four reanalysis datasets. Overall, this study establishes the relative roles of adjacent and far-off oceanic and terrestrial evaporative sources over the Mediterranean land and should help in understanding the drivers of precipitation variability and change at varying timescales.