A 396-year reconstruction of precipitation in southern Jordan

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Abstract

Water resources are the lifeblood of the Near East region. Careful planning and management of water resources in dry land regions requires information on the likelihood of extreme events, especially prolonged drought. It is essential to understand the variability of climate on time scales of decades to centuries to assign reasonable probabilities to such events. Tree-ring analysis is one way to increase our knowledge of the climate variability beyond the short period covered by the instrumental data. In this paper, we reconstruct October-May precipitation from a Juniperus phoenicia tree-ring chronology in southern Jordan to gain a long-term (A.D. 1600-1995) perspective on runs of dry years and on time series fluctuations in precipitation averaged over several years. The reconstruction equation derived by regression of log-transformed precipitation on tree-ring indices explains 44 percent of the variance of observed precipitation. The longest reconstructed drought, as defined by consecutive years below a threshold of 217.4 mm, was four years, compared with three years for the 1946-95 instrumental data. A Monte Carlo analysis designed to account for uncertainty in the reconstruction indicates a lower than 50 percent chance that the region has experienced drought longer than five years in the past 400 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-59
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Volume35
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1999

Fingerprint

Drought
tree ring
drought
Water resources
water resource
Monte Carlo analysis
Precipitation (meteorology)
climate
extreme event
chronology
Time series
time series
timescale
Planning

Keywords

  • Dendrochronology
  • Desertification
  • Drought
  • Tree-rings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

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title = "A 396-year reconstruction of precipitation in southern Jordan",
abstract = "Water resources are the lifeblood of the Near East region. Careful planning and management of water resources in dry land regions requires information on the likelihood of extreme events, especially prolonged drought. It is essential to understand the variability of climate on time scales of decades to centuries to assign reasonable probabilities to such events. Tree-ring analysis is one way to increase our knowledge of the climate variability beyond the short period covered by the instrumental data. In this paper, we reconstruct October-May precipitation from a Juniperus phoenicia tree-ring chronology in southern Jordan to gain a long-term (A.D. 1600-1995) perspective on runs of dry years and on time series fluctuations in precipitation averaged over several years. The reconstruction equation derived by regression of log-transformed precipitation on tree-ring indices explains 44 percent of the variance of observed precipitation. The longest reconstructed drought, as defined by consecutive years below a threshold of 217.4 mm, was four years, compared with three years for the 1946-95 instrumental data. A Monte Carlo analysis designed to account for uncertainty in the reconstruction indicates a lower than 50 percent chance that the region has experienced drought longer than five years in the past 400 years.",
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N2 - Water resources are the lifeblood of the Near East region. Careful planning and management of water resources in dry land regions requires information on the likelihood of extreme events, especially prolonged drought. It is essential to understand the variability of climate on time scales of decades to centuries to assign reasonable probabilities to such events. Tree-ring analysis is one way to increase our knowledge of the climate variability beyond the short period covered by the instrumental data. In this paper, we reconstruct October-May precipitation from a Juniperus phoenicia tree-ring chronology in southern Jordan to gain a long-term (A.D. 1600-1995) perspective on runs of dry years and on time series fluctuations in precipitation averaged over several years. The reconstruction equation derived by regression of log-transformed precipitation on tree-ring indices explains 44 percent of the variance of observed precipitation. The longest reconstructed drought, as defined by consecutive years below a threshold of 217.4 mm, was four years, compared with three years for the 1946-95 instrumental data. A Monte Carlo analysis designed to account for uncertainty in the reconstruction indicates a lower than 50 percent chance that the region has experienced drought longer than five years in the past 400 years.

AB - Water resources are the lifeblood of the Near East region. Careful planning and management of water resources in dry land regions requires information on the likelihood of extreme events, especially prolonged drought. It is essential to understand the variability of climate on time scales of decades to centuries to assign reasonable probabilities to such events. Tree-ring analysis is one way to increase our knowledge of the climate variability beyond the short period covered by the instrumental data. In this paper, we reconstruct October-May precipitation from a Juniperus phoenicia tree-ring chronology in southern Jordan to gain a long-term (A.D. 1600-1995) perspective on runs of dry years and on time series fluctuations in precipitation averaged over several years. The reconstruction equation derived by regression of log-transformed precipitation on tree-ring indices explains 44 percent of the variance of observed precipitation. The longest reconstructed drought, as defined by consecutive years below a threshold of 217.4 mm, was four years, compared with three years for the 1946-95 instrumental data. A Monte Carlo analysis designed to account for uncertainty in the reconstruction indicates a lower than 50 percent chance that the region has experienced drought longer than five years in the past 400 years.

KW - Dendrochronology

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KW - Tree-rings

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