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Journal Article

A study of dry spells in Iran based on satellite data and their relationship with ENSO


Rezaei,  Mohammad
External Organizations;


Rousi,  Eftychia
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Ghasemifar,  Elham
External Organizations;

Sadeghi,  Ali
External Organizations;

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Rezaei, M., Rousi, E., Ghasemifar, E., Sadeghi, A. (2021): A study of dry spells in Iran based on satellite data and their relationship with ENSO. - Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 144, 3-4, 1387-1405.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_25497
The study of the maximum number of consecutive dry days (MCDDs) is one approach to analyze precipitation behavior in arid and semi-arid regions of Iran. This study is a first attempt to investigate the MCDDs and their relationship with the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in winter months over Iran. The study was carried out using Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite data on a daily basis at 1° latitude × 1° longitude spatial resolution and reanalysis data for the period 1998–2019. Results showed that the highest values of MCDDs are observed in southeastern Iran and the lowest in northwestern Iran. Based on the coefficients of the linear trend of the MCDDs, the significant increasing trends are remarkably more abundant than declining trends, especially in the northern half of the country in December and January. The results regarding the relationship between ENSO and MCDDs indicated a non-stationary behavior, with a significant negative correlation for December (especially in the southwest) and positive correlation for January and February (especially in the southeast). The largest differences in the correlation coefficients were observed between December and January. In general, during El Niño (La Niña) phases, the length of MCDDs decreases (increases) in December and increases (decreases) in January especially in the southern half. By comparing different large-scale climate parameters for the 2 months, we found that during El Niño (La Niña) phases, a negative (positive) anomaly of geopotential height and a positive (negative) anomaly of zonal wind and specific humidity are observed over the region in December, while the opposite situation occurs in January. The innovation of this study is the use of satellite data that provide a continuous spatial coverage of the region and the consideration of the ENSO teleconnection pattern in regards to dry spells. We find that El Niño (La Niña) has contradictory effects on MCDDs in different winter months in the southern half of the country. These findings are of great importance for a country like Iran that lies in arid and semi-arid regions, as they can be useful for water resources management.