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Moisture sources for precipitation variability over the Arabian Peninsula

Publication Type
Journal Name
Climate Dynamics
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 15

We apply the Lagrangian-based moisture back trajectory method to two reanalysis datasets to determine the moisture sources for wet season precipitation over the Arabian Peninsula, defined as land on the Asian continent to the south of the Turkish border and west of Iran. To accomplish this, we make use of the evaporative source region between 65°W–120°E and 30°S–60°N, which is divided into twelve sub-regions. Our comparison of reanalyses and multiple observations allows us to validate datasets and highlight broad-scale similarities in characteristics, notwithstanding some inconsistencies in the southwest AP. The results indicate north-to-south spatiotemporal heterogeneity in the characteristics of dominant moisture sources. In the north, moisture for precipitation is mainly sourced from midlatitude land and water bodies, such as the Mediterranean and Caspian Seas. Areas further south are dependent on moisture transport from the Western Indian Ocean and parts of the African continent. The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) exhibits an overall positive but sub-seasonally varying influence on the precipitation variability over the region, with noticeable moisture anomalies from all major source regions. A significant drying trend exists over parts of the Peninsula, which both reanalyses partially attribute to anomalies in the moisture advection from the Congo Basin and South Atlantic Ocean. However, considerable uncertainty in evaporation trends over the terrestrial evaporative sources in observations warrants additional modeling studies to further our understanding of key processes contributing to the negative trends.