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Title: Observational analysis of decadal and long-term hydroclimate drivers in the Mediterranean region: role of the ocean–atmosphere system and anthropogenic forcing
Using observations and reanalysis, we develop a robust statistical approach based on canonical correlation analysis (CCA) to explore the leading drivers of decadal and longer-term Mediterranean hydroclimate variability during the historical, half-year wet season. Accordingly, a series of CCA analyses are conducted with combined, multi-component large-scale drivers of Mediterranean precipitation and surface air temperatures. The results highlight the decadal-scale North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) as the leading driver of hydroclimate variations across the Mediterranean basin. Markedly, the decadal variability of Atlantic-Mediterranean sea surface temperatures (SST), whose influence on the Mediterranean climate has so far been proposed as limited to the summer months, is found to enhance the NAO-induced hydroclimate response during the winter half-year season. As for the long-term, century scale trends, anthropogenic forcing, expressed in terms of the global SST warming (GW) signal, is robustly associated with basin-wide increase in surface air temperatures. Our analyses provide more detailed information than has heretofore been presented on the sub-seasonal evolution and spatial dependence of the large-scale climate variability in the Mediterranean region, separating the effects of natural variability and anthropogenic forcing, with the latter linked to a long-term drying of the region due to GW-induced local poleward shift of the subtropical dry more » zone. The physical understanding of these mechanisms is essential in order to improve model simulations and predic- tion of the decadal and longer hydroclimatic evolution in the Mediterranean area, which can help in developing adaptation strategies to mitigate the effect of climate variability and change on the vulnerable regional population. « less
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Climate Dynamics
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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