Hochman A, Harpaz T, Saaroni H, Alpert P. The seasons’ length in 21st century CMIP5 projections over the eastern Mediterranean. Int J Climatol. 2018;38:2627–2637. https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.5448

Abstract

The eastern Mediterranean (EM) is expected to be influenced by climate changes that will significantly affect ecosystems, human health and socio‐economic aspects. One aspect of climate change in this vulnerable area is the length of the seasons, especially that of the rainy winter season against the warm and dry summer.

Here, the synoptic seasons’ definition of Alpert, Osetinsky, Ziv, and Shafir (2004a) was applied to an ensemble of eight Coupled Model Inter‐Comparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) models, under RCP8.5 and RCP4.5 scenarios, to predict the changes in the lengths of EM seasons during the 21st century. It is shown that the ensemble adequately represents the annual cycle of the main synoptic systems over the EM.

The analysis further suggests that at the end of the 21st century, the duration of the synoptic summer, characterized by the occurrence of the Persian Trough, is expected to be lengthened by 49%, while the synoptic winter, characterized by the occurrence of the Cyprus Low, is expected to be shortened by 56% under the RCP8.5 scenario. This may lead to substantial changes in the hydrological regime and water resources, reduce the potential of dry farming, increase the risk of fires and air pollution and change the timing of seasonal health hazards.

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