09 Sep 2021

09 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESD.

ESD Reviews: Extreme Weather and Societal Impacts in the Eastern Mediterranean

Assaf Hochman1,2, Francesco Marra3, Gabriele Messori4,5, Joaquim G. Pinto1, Shira Raveh-Rubin6, Yizhak Yosef7, and Georgios Zittis8 Assaf Hochman et al.
  • 1Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Department of Tropospheric Research (IMK-TRO), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 2Freddy and Nadine Hermann Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI), Jerusalem, Israel
  • 3Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council of Italy (CNR-ISAC), Bologna, Italy
  • 4Department of Earth Sciences and Centre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS), Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 5Department of Meteorology and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 6Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
  • 7Israel Meteorological Service, Bet-Dagan, Israel
  • 8Climate and Atmosphere Research Center (CARE-C), The Cyprus Institute, Nicosia, Cyprus

Abstract. Gaining a holistic understanding of extreme weather, from its physical drivers to its impacts on society and ecosystems, is key to supporting future risk reduction and preparedness measures. Here, we provide an overview of the state-of-the-art, knowledge gaps and key open questions in the study of extreme weather events over the vulnerable eastern Mediterranean. This region is situated in a transition zone between subtropical and mid-latitude climates. Extreme weather is mainly governed by the large-scale atmospheric circulation and its interaction with regional synoptic systems, i.e., Cyprus Lows, Red Sea Troughs, Persian Troughs, ‘Sharav’ Lows, and high-pressure systems. Complex orographic features further play an important role in the generation of extreme weather. Most extreme weather events, including heavy precipitation, cold spells, floods and wind storms, are associated with a Cyprus Low or Active Red Sea Trough, whereas heat waves are related with either the Persian Trough and Sub-Tropical High-pressure systems in summer, or the ‘Sharav’ Low during spring time. Heat waves and droughts are projected to significantly increase in both frequency and intensity. In future decades, changes in heavy precipitation frequency and intensity may vary in sign and magnitude depending on the scale, severity and region of interest. There are still relatively large uncertainties concerning the physical understanding and the projected changes of cold spells, wind storms and compound events, as these types of events received comparatively little attention in the literature. We further identify knowledge gaps that relate to the societal impacts of extreme weather. These gaps mainly relate to the effects extreme weather may have on mortality, morbidity and infrastructure in the eastern Mediterranean. Research is currently limited in this context, and we call to strengthen the database of analyzed case-studies. We trust that this can only be suitably accomplished by inter-disciplinary and international regional collaborations, in spite of political unrest.

Assaf Hochman et al.

Status: open (until 09 Dec 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on esd-2021-55', Anonymous Referee #1, 12 Oct 2021 reply

Assaf Hochman et al.

Assaf Hochman et al.


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Short summary
Gaining a complete understanding of extreme weather, from its physical drivers to its impacts on society, is important in supporting future risk reduction and adaptation measures. Here, we provide a review of the available scientific literature, knowledge gaps and key open questions in the study of extreme weather events over the vulnerable eastern Mediterranean region.