Publication Abstracts

Sivakumar et al. 2013

Sivakumar, M.V.K., A.C. Ruane, and J. Camacho, 2013: Climate change in the West Asia and North Africa region. In Climate Change and Food Security in West Asia and North Africa. M.V.K. Sivakumar, R. Lal, R. Selvaraju, and I. Hamdan, Eds., Springer Netherlands, pp. 3-26, doi:10.1007/978-94-007-6751-5_1.

The countries of West Asia and North Africa (WANA) have long had the challenge of providing sustainable livelihoods for their populations in the fragile ecosystems of semi-arid and arid areas, facing the challenging issues of water scarcity, drought, land degradation and desertification. Climate change is already a reality in WANA and it places additional constraints on its fragile ecosystems and limited natural resources. The most common and high-impact manifestations of local climate variability in the WANA region involve temperature and precipitation, which have marked effects on local and regional economies and livelihoods. 2010 was the warmest year on record in West Asia and North Africa. The Saharan/Arabian region was 2.22°C above normal, 0.89°C above the previous record and the largest annual anomaly ever recorded for any subregion outside the Arctic. Temperatures for the 2001-2010 decade in Africa averaged 0.85°C above normal, 0.49°C warmer than any previous decade, and the five hottest years on record for the continent have all occurred since 2003. These temperature effects were connected to alterations in the hydrological cycle, especially the amount, frequency, intensity, duration, and type of precipitation. Data on Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) show a widespread drying trend over much of the WANA region since the mid-1950s. Global climate models (GCMs), which represent the interacting effects of greenhouse gases on the atmosphere, oceans, and land-surface, provide projections of future climate changes. All of the major GCMs agree that regional temperatures will warm between now and the 2050s, with temperature gains of 2-3°C±0.5°C over much of the area. Changes in precipitation are less clear. The GCM ensemble shows a robust signal of increasingly dry conditions (10-20% reduction in rain) surrounding the Mediterranean and extending east over the Mashreq, the northern Arabian Peninsula, and Western Asia. The GCMs agree in their projections of increased rainfall over the Indus valley (+10% to 20%), but are less confident in their projections of wetter conditions over the Nile Valley and Red Sea. Over the Horn of Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula the GCMs project wetter conditions, but recent observations suggest that circulation changes have led to a regional drying demonstrated most visibly by the substantial drought in 2011. A warmer climate is also expected to impact the distribution of extreme events, with an increased frequency of heat waves and dry spells likely even in areas with slight rainfall increases.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Sivakumar, M. V. K. and Ruane, A. C. and Camacho, J.},
  editor={Sivakumar, M. V. K. and Lal, R. and Selvaraju, R. and Hamdan, I.},
  title={Climate change in the West Asia and North Africa region},
  booktitle={Climate Change and Food Security in West Asia and North Africa},
  publisher={Springer Netherlands},

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RIS Citation

ID  - si08100s
AU  - Sivakumar, M. V. K.
AU  - Ruane, A. C.
AU  - Camacho, J.
ED  - Sivakumar, M. V. K.
ED  - Lal, R.
ED  - Selvaraju, R.
ED  - Hamdan, I.
PY  - 2013
TI  - Climate change in the West Asia and North Africa region
BT  - Climate Change and Food Security in West Asia and North Africa
SP  - 3
EP  - 26
DO  - 10.1007/978-94-007-6751-5_1
PB  - Springer Netherlands
ER  -

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