Sensitivity of the Regional Climate in the Middle East and North Africa to Volcanic Perturbations

Muhammad Mubashar Dogar, Georgiy L. Stenchikov, Sergey Osipov, Bruce Wyman, Ming Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regional climate appears to be extremely sensitive to volcanic eruptions. Winter cooling after the 1991 Pinatubo eruption far exceeded the mean hemispheric temperature anomaly, even causing snowfall in Israel. To better understand MENA climate variability, the climate responses to the El Chichón and Pinatubo volcanic eruptions are analyzed using observations, NOAA/NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis, and output from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory's High-Resolution Atmospheric Model (HiRAM). A multiple regression analysis both for the observations and the model output is performed on seasonal summer and winter composites to separate out the contributions from climate trends, El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Indian summer monsoon and volcanic aerosols. Strong regional temperature and precipitation responses over the MENA region are found in both winter and summer. The model and the observations both show that a positive NAO amplifies the MENA volcanic winter cooling. In boreal summer, the patterns of changing temperature and precipitation suggest a weakening and southward shift of the Intertropical Convergence Zone, caused by volcanic surface cooling and weakening of the Indian and West African monsoons. The model captures the main features of the climate response; however, it underestimates the total cooling, especially in winter, and exhibits a different spatial pattern of the NAO climate response in MENA compared to the observations. The conducted analysis sheds light on the internal mechanisms of MENA climate variability and helps to selectively diagnose the model deficiencies.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7922-7948
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Volume122
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 10 2017

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Sensitivity of the Regional Climate in the Middle East and North Africa to Volcanic Perturbations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this