MIDDLE EAST: Water deficits forecast for the Arabian Peninsula, esp Quatar & UAE (June 24, 2016)

The Big Picture
The 12-month composite map (below) illustrates water deficits forecast in southern Turkey, Cyprus, Gaza, West Bank, Israel, Kuwait, and Qatar. Much of the rest of the Middle East is forecast to experience deficits ranging from abnormal to exceptional, with both deficits and surpluses throughout. Surpluses are forecast along the Iraq-Iran border, in Iran along the southern shore of the Caspian Sea, and in an isolated pocket on central Oman’s coast.

Impacts
In a royal decree King Salman of Saudi Arabia has exempted 38,774 drought-affected farmers in the Arabian Shield region along the Red Sea from paying back loans totaling SR 1.2 billion (US $326.7 million) to the Agricultural Development Fund. 

A massive forest fire fueled by high winds, high temperatures, and dry conditions raged for four days northeast of Nicosia, Cyprus killing two firefighters and incinerating countless 150-year old pine trees. One of the worst fires in the island's history, six nations - Britain, Greece, Israel, France, Italy, and Turkey - contributed resources to suppress it.

Unusually low rainfall over the past several months in Syria has wheat farmers agonizing over losses already impacted by war. Wheat is Syria's most important crop, accounting for over 40 percent of caloric intake according to a policy brief published by Duke University.

Forecast Breakdown
The 3-month composites (below) for the same 12-month period show the evolving conditions. Water deficits are forecast to persist throughout the Middle East through February, though the extent of exceptional deficits will diminish. However, areas with both deficits and surpluses will gradually transition to primarily deficits.

Cyprus is forecast to transition out of exceptional deficit after May, while deficits in Qatar and United Arab Emirates may become more severe for the next six months. Pockets of severe to exceptional deficits across southern Turkey are expected to linger through November before diminishing in severity.

Exceptional deficits are forecast to persist in central Iran through October, and deficits will continue to emerge in southwestern provinces through November.

Surpluses along the Iraq-Iran border and in Iran along the southern shore of the Caspian Sea are forecast to gradually disappear.

(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)

Comment

Many analyses reported in ISciences-authored blog posts are based on data generated by the ISciences Water Security Indicator Model (WSIM). Other sources, if used, are referenced in footnotes accompanying individual posts. WSIM is a validated capability that produces monthly reports on current and forecast global freshwater surpluses and deficits with lead times of 1-9 months at 0.5°x0.5° resolution. This capability has been in continuous operation since April 2011 and has proven to provide reliable forecasts of emerging water security concerns in that time-frame. WSIM has the ability to assess the impacts of water anomalies on people, agriculture, and electricity generation. Detailed data, customized visualizations, and reports are available for purchase.

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