Causing Factors for Extreme Precipitation in the Western Saudi-Arabian Peninsula

Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Mohammad M Alharbi, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15, United Kingdom and Gregor C Leckebusch, University of Birmingham, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Birmingham, United Kingdom
In the western coast of Saudi Arabia the climate is in general semi-arid but extreme precipitation events occur on a regular basis: e.g., on 26th November 2009, when 122 people were killed and 350 reported missing in Jeddah following more than 90mm in just four hours. Our investigation will a) analyse major drivers of the generation of extremes and b) investigate major responsible modes of variability for the occurrence of extremes. Firstly, we present a systematic analysis of station based observations of the most relevant extreme events (1985-2013) for 5 stations (Gizan, Makkah, Jeddah, Yenbo and Wejh). Secondly, we investigate the responsible mechanism on the synoptic to large-scale leading to the generation of extremes and will analyse factors for the time variability of extreme event occurrence. Extreme events for each station are identified in the wet season (Nov-Jan): 122 events show intensity above the respective 90th percentile. The most extreme events are systematically investigated with respect to the responsible forcing conditions which we can identify as: The influence of the Soudan Low, active Red-Sea-Trough situations established via interactions with mid-latitude tropospheric wave activity, low pressure systems over the Mediterranean, the influence of the North Africa High, the Arabian Anticyclone and the influence of the Indian monsoon trough. We investigate the role of dynamical forcing factors like the STJ and the upper-troposphere geopotential conditions and the relation to smaller local low-pressure systems. By means of an empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis based on MSLP we investigate the possibility to objectively quantify the influence of existing major variability modes and their role for the generation of extreme precipitation events.