Publications by Year: 2016

Ziv B, Harats N, Morin E, Yair Y, Dayan U. Can severe rain events over the Mediterranean region be detected through simple numerical indices?. Natural Hazards [Internet]. 2016;83 (2) :1197–1212. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This work evaluates two numerical warning indicators of severe weather. These indicators, the MKI and RDI indices, were developed within the framework of the EU- funded FLASH project which studies flash flood events in the Mediterranean Basin. The MKI (Modified K-Index) is a modification of the K-Index, which expresses probability of lightning activity, and the RDI (Rain Dynamical Index) is the integrated upward moisture flux. The indices were tested on 59 episodes which occurred during nine rainstorms in Israel, Greece, Spain, Italy, and Cyprus. The data for calculation of the indices included rain cell identification derived from microwave radiometer imagery of polar orbiting NOAA satellites, rain RADAR data, and lightning activity from the international ZEUS detection system. Atmospheric data with 0.5? 9 0.5? spatial resolution and 6-h time res- olution were used for the calculation and the display of the two indices. The indices were tested by calculating the spatially correlating locations with high index values and actual locations of intense rain and intense lightning. The RDI detected both event types: rain and lightning, with a statistically significant success rate and a low rate of false results. The MKI was successful in indicating intense lightning activity, but the rate of correct indi- cations was not statistically significant and there was a high rate of false indications. The results suggest that the RDI computed with output of weather prediction models is a potentially good predictor of torrential rain and therefore can predict flash floods caused by such rain in the Mediterranean region.

Kottmeier C, Agnon A, Al-Halbouni D, Alpert P, Corsmeier U, Dahm T, Eshel A, Geyer S, Haas M, Holohan E, et al. New perspectives on interdisciplinary earth science at the Dead Sea: The DESERVE project. Science of The Total Environment [Internet]. 2016;544 :1045–1058. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The Dead Sea region has faced substantial environmental challenges in recent decades, including water resource scarcity, \~ 1 m annual decreases in the water level, sinkhole development, ascending-brine freshwater pollution, and seismic disturbance risks. Natural processes are significantly affected by human interference as well as by climate change and tectonic developments over the long term. To get a deep understanding of processes and their interactions, innovative scientific approaches that integrate disciplinary research and education are required. The research project DESERVE (Helmholtz Virtual Institute Dead Sea Research Venue) addresses these challenges in an interdisciplinary approach that includes geophysics, hydrology, and meteorology. The project is implemented by a consortium of scientific institutions in neighboring countries of the Dead Sea (Israel, Jordan, Palestine Territories) and participating German Helmholtz Centres (KIT, GFZ, UFZ). A new monitoring network of meteorological, hydrological, and seismic/geodynamic stations has been established, and extensive field research and numerical simulations have been undertaken. For the first time, innovative measurement and modeling techniques have been applied to the extreme conditions of the Dead Sea and its surroundings. The preliminary results show the potential of these methods. First time ever performed eddy covariance measurements give insight into the governing factors of Dead Sea evaporation. High-resolution bathymetric investigations reveal a strong correlation between submarine springs and neo-tectonic patterns. Based on detailed studies of stratigraphy and borehole information, the extension of the subsurface drainage basin of the Dead Sea is now reliably estimated. Originality has been achieved in monitoring flash floods in an arid basin at its outlet and simultaneously in tributaries, supplemented by spatio-temporal rainfall data. Low-altitude, high resolution photogrammetry, allied to satellite image analysis and to geophysical surveys (e.g. shear-wave reflections) has enabled a more detailed characterization of sinkhole morphology and temporal development and the possible subsurface controls thereon. All the above listed efforts and scientific results take place with the interdisciplinary education of young scientists. They are invited to attend joint thematic workshops and winter schools as well as to participate in field experiments
Drobinski P, Da Silva N, Panthou G, Bastin S, Muller C, Ahrens B, Borga M, Conte D, Fosser G, Giorgi F, et al. Scaling precipitation extremes with temperature in the Mediterranean: past climate assessment and projection in anthropogenic scenarios. Climate Dynamics [Internet]. 2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In this study we investigate the scaling of precipitation extremes with temperature in the Mediterranean region by assessing against observations the present day and future regional climate simulations performed in the frame of the HyMeX and MED-CORDEX programs. Over the 1979–2008 period, despite differences in quantitative precipitation simulation across the various models, the change in precipitation extremes with respect to temperature is robust and consistent. The spatial variability of the temperature–precipitation extremes relationship displays a hook shape across the Mediterranean, with negative slope at high temperatures and a slope following Clausius–Clapeyron (CC)-scaling at low temperatures. The temperature at which the slope of the temperature–precipitation extreme relation sharply changes (or temperature break), ranges from about 20 °C in the western Mediterranean to \textless10 °C in Greece. In addition, this slope is always negative in the arid regions of the Mediterranean. The scaling of the simulated precipitation extremes is insensitive to ocean–atmosphere coupling, while it depends very weakly on the resolution at high temperatures for short precipitation accumulation times. In future climate scenario simulations covering the 2070–2100 period, the temperature break shifts to higher temperatures by a value which is on average the mean regional temperature change due to global warming. The slope of the simulated future temperature–precipitation extremes relationship is close to CC-scaling at temperatures below the temperature break, while at high temperatures, the negative slope is close, but somewhat flatter or steeper, than in the current climate depending on the model. Overall, models predict more intense precipitation extremes in the future. Adjusting the temperature–precipitation extremes relationship in the present climate using the CC law and the temperature shift in the future allows the recovery of the temperature–precipitation extremes relationship in the future climate. This implies negligible regional changes of relative humidity in the future despite the large warming and drying over the Mediterranean. This suggests that the Mediterranean Sea is the primary source of moisture which counteracts the drying and warming impacts on relative humidity in parts of the Mediterranean region.
Zidon R, Tsueda H, Morin E, Morin S. Projecting pest population dynamics under global warming: the combined effect of inter- and intra-annual variations. Ecological Applications [Internet]. 2016;26 (4) :1198-1210. Publisher's VersionAbstract


The typical short generation length of insects makes their population dynamics highly sensitive not only to mean annual temperatures but also to their intra-annual variations. To consider the combined effect of both thermal factors under global warming, we propose a modeling framework that links general circulation models (GCMs) with a stochastic weather generator and population dynamics models to predict species population responses to inter- and intra-annual temperature changes. This framework was utilized to explore future changes in populations of Bemisia tabaci, an invasive insect pest-species that affects multiple agricultural systems in the Mediterranean region. We considered three locations representing different pest status and climatic conditions: Montpellier (France), Seville (Spain), and Beit-Jamal (Israel). We produced ensembles of local daily temperature realizations representing current and future (mid-21st century) climatic conditions under two emission scenarios for the three locations. Our simulations predicted a significant increase in the average number of annual generations and in population size, and a significant lengthening of the growing season in all three locations. A negative effect was found only in Seville for the summer season, where future temperatures lead to a reduction in population size. High variability in population size was observed between years with similar annual mean temperatures, suggesting a strong effect of intra-annual temperature variation. Critical periods were from late spring to late summer in Montpellier and from late winter to early summer in Seville and Beit-Jamal. Although our analysis suggested that earlier seasonal activity does not necessarily lead to increased populations load unless an additional generation is produced, it is highly likely that the insect will become a significant pest of open-fields at Mediterranean latitudes above 40° during the next 50 years. Our simulations also implied that current predictions based on mean temperature anomalies are relatively conservative and it is better to apply stochastic tools to resolve complex responses to climate change while taking natural variability into account. In summary, we propose a modeling framework capable of determining distinct intra-annual temperature patterns leading to large or small population sizes, for pest risk assessment and management planning of both natural and agricultural ecosystems.