Mentoring Temporal and Spatial Variations in Rainfall across Wadi Ar-Rumah, Saudi Arabia

Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Talal Alharbi, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Mohamed Ahmed, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, United States
Across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the fresh water resources are limited only to those found in aquifer systems. Those aquifers were believed to be recharged during the previous wet climatic period but still receiving modest local recharge in interleaving dry periods such as those prevailing at present. Quantifying temporal and spatial variabilities in rainfall patterns, magnitudes, durations, and frequencies is of prime importance when it comes to sustainable management of such aquifer systems. In this study, an integrated approach, using remote sensing and field data, was used to assess the past, the current, and the projected spatial and temporal variations in rainfall over one of the major watersheds in KSA, Wadi Ar-Rumah. This watershed was selected given its larger areal extent and population intensity. Rainfall data were extracted from (1) the Climate Prediction Centers (CPC) Merged Analysis of Precipitation (CMAP; spatial coverage: global; spatial resolution: 2.5° × 2.5°; temporal coverage: January 1979 to April 2015; temporal resolution: monthly), and (2) the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM; spatial coverage: 50°N to 50°S; spatial resolution: 0.25° × 0.25°; temporal coverage: January 1998 to March 2015; temporal resolution: 3 hours) and calibrated against rainfall measurements extracted from rain gauges. Trends in rainfall patterns were examined over four main investigation periods: period I (01/1979 to 12/1985), period II (01/1986 to 12/1992), period III (01/1993 to 12/2002), and period IV (01/2003 to 12/2014). Our findings indicate: (1) a significant increase (+14.19 mm/yr) in rainfall rates were observed during period I, (2) a significant decrease in rainfall rates were observed during periods II (-5.80 mm/yr), III (-9.38 mm/yr), and IV (-2.46 mm/yr), and (3) the observed variations in rainfall rates are largely related to the temporal variations in the northerlies (also called northwesterlies) and the monsoonal wind regimes.