Future water storage changes over the Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa in response to global warming and stratospheric aerosol intervention

Rezaei, Abolfazl; Karami, Khalil; Tilmes, Simone; Moore, John C.

Water storage plays a profound role in the lives of people across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as it is the most water-stressed region worldwide. The lands around the Caspian and Mediterranean seas are simulated to be very sensitive to future climate warming. Available water capacity depends on hydroclimate variables such as temperature and precipitation that will depend on socioeconomic pathways and changes in climate. This work explores changes in both the mean and extreme terrestrial water storage (TWS) under an unmitigated greenhouse gas (GHG) scenario (SSP5-8.5) and stratospheric aerosol intervention (SAI) designed to offset GHG-induced warming above 1.5 inline-formulaC and compares both with historical period simulations. Both mean TWS and extreme TWS are projected to significantly decrease under SSP5-8.5 over the domain, except for the Arabian Peninsula, particularly in the wetter lands around the Caspian and Mediterranean seas. Relative to global warming, SAI partially ameliorates the decreased mean TWS in the wet regions, while it has no significant effect on the increased TWS in drier lands. In the entire domain studied, the mean TWS is larger under SAI than pure GHG forcing, mainly due to the significant cooling and, in turn, a substantial decrease in evapotranspiration under SAI relative to SSP5-8.5. Changes in extreme water storage excursions under global warming are reduced by SAI. Extreme TWS under both future climate scenarios is larger than throughout the historical period across Iran, Iraq, and the Arabian Peninsula, but the response of the more continental eastern North Africa hyper-arid climate is different from the neighboring dry lands. In the latter case, we note a reduction in the mean TWS trend under both GHG and SAI scenarios, with extreme TWS values also showing a decline compared to historical conditions.

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Rezaei, Abolfazl / Karami, Khalil / Tilmes, Simone / et al: Future water storage changes over the Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa in response to global warming and stratospheric aerosol intervention. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Abolfazl Rezaei et al.

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