Middle East: Intense water deficits to decrease overall, persist in Yemen

17 December 2018

The forecast for the 12-month period ending August 2019 indicates widespread, intense water deficits on the Arabian Peninsula including exceptional deficits in Al Madinah, Saudi Arabia; United Arab Emirates; Yemen; and western Oman. Extreme deficits are forecast for Kuwait and southern Iraq, and deficits of varying severity in the Levant. Other areas of deficit include western Turkey, Georgia, and central Iran.

Surpluses ranging from moderate to exceptional are forecast for western Iran in provinces north of the Red Sea and across the border into Iraq. Surpluses are also forecast along Iran’s central Caspian Sea coast.

The 3-month maps (below) show the evolving conditions in greater detail.

Deficits are expected to shrink and downgrade in the region through February. However, severe to exceptional deficits are forecast for Yemen’s western and eastern thirds. Severe deficits are expected in Saudi Arabia’s large south-central region of Riyadh, with pockets of varying intensity farther north. Moderate deficits are forecast for pockets of western Turkey and for southeastern Iran. Surpluses will persist in western Iran north of the Red Sea – and across the border into Iraq – and will remain intense, ranging from moderate to exceptional. Surpluses will also persist along Iran’s western Caspian Sea coast reaching inland. Moderate to severe surpluses are forecast to persist in north of Kirkuk, Iraq and will emerge in eastern Turkey.

From March through May, surpluses in the region will shrink considerably and downgrade, leaving some moderate conditions across the central Iraq-Iran border and small pockets in eastern Turkey. Deficits will increase on the Arabian Peninsula with severe deficits forecast for most of Saudi Arabia, severe to exceptional deficits throughout Yemen, and exceptional deficits in western Oman. Primarily moderate deficits will emerge in the Levant, central and northwestern Iran, the South Caucasus, and much of Turkey’s western two-thirds.

In the final quarter – June through August – deficits are expected to increase and intensify considerably in the region with severe to exceptional anomalies forecast for the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant, Turkey, western and southern Iraq, and much of Iran.

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

There are numerous regions around the world where country borders are contested. ISciences depicts country boundaries on these maps solely to provide some geographic context. The boundaries are nominal, not legal, descriptions of each entity. The use of these boundaries does not imply any judgement on the legal status of any territory, or any endorsement or acceptance of disputed boundaries on the part of ISciences or our data providers.

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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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