عنوان مقاله [English]
As an influential element of climate, precipitation affects human activities and societies. It is thus considered to be the essence of any study conducted as a part of environmental and economic planning. Precipitation in Iran, especially in its west and southwest is affected by thermal, dynamic, and thermodynamic low-pressure centers such as the Red Sea trough. The trough is an extension of Sudanese low-pressure with a central pressure of about 1006 hPa. The Red Sea is stretched in a southeast to northwest direction and thus connects tropical and subtropical regions. Considering the importance of the Red Sea low-pressure system for precipitation events in west and southwest Iran, any change in this system will affect precipitation patterns in the region. Analyzing the activity of this system and resulting precipitation in west and southwest Iran will thus provide more accurate understanding of the climate of this region.
Materials and methods
Environmental and precipitation data retrieved from Asfezari national database and atmospheric data (geopotential height) extracted from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) were utilized in the present study. A numerical algorithm was also used to identify the cyclones. The algorithm identified 459 cyclones in the statistical period.
Results and discussion
Time distribution of days in which the Red Sea trough is active showed increased activity in summer (198 days) especially August (99 days) and spring (178 days) especially April. However, the Red Sea trough showed decreased activity in autumn and winter. Activities of the Red Sea trough have shown a slightly decreasing but significant annual trend during the statistical period. A sharply and significantly decreasing slope can be observed in summer which results in a decreasing annual trend. Average daily precipitation of the study area in the statistical period ranged from 0 to 2.5 mm. The minimum average precipitation (less than 1 mm) was observed in 29.58% of the study area while maximum average precipitation (more than 2 mm) was observed in 3.64% of the study area. The largest part of the study area (66.87%) experienced an average daily precipitation of 1 to 2 mm. Moreover, 24.28% of the region with minimum precipitation (less than 1 mm) was located in the south and southwest of the study area. This indicates a relatively less severe impact of the Red Sea trough in this area. Around 70.88% of the study area has experienced a precipitation between 1 and 2 mm. Subtracting average daily precipitation recorded throughout the statistical period from the average daily precipitation occurring simultaneously with the activities of the Red Sea trough showed a positive anomaly (more than 0.4 mm) in the north and northeast of the study area. Therefore, it can be inferred that most of the precipitation in this area is originated over the Red Sea. It seems that the presence of the Zagros Mountains has also had a significant effect on precipitation in the study area. Areas with a negative anomaly (less than -0.4 mm) in which precipitation is not affected by the Red Sea trough include spatially scattered regions in Khuzestan, and Kohkiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad provinces (0.74% of the study area). In other words, precipitation associated with the activity of the Red Sea trough was less than the total precipitation, and thus, most of the precipitation in these regions has other sources.
Results indicated that during the statistical period, minimum average daily precipitation has occurred in south, southwest, and northeast of the study area. Moreover, south and southwest of the study area experienced precipitation simultaneously with the activity of the Red Sea trough. The maximum precipitation in either cases (during the statistical period and also during the activity of the Red Sea trough) has been concentrated in parts of the northwest, west, and east of the study area (along the Zagros mountain range). Significant latitude difference between the north and south of the study area, and existence of the Zagros Mountains and consequently the heterogeneous topography have created two different zones in the study area experiencing minimum and maximum precipitation. In the presence of the Red Sea trough, a higher percentage of the study area experienced maximum precipitation. The frequency of days with more than one millimeter precipitation and their spatial distribution showed that under general conditions, the maximum precipitation has occurred in the north, northwest, west, and east covering 61.11% of the study area. Kurdistan province has recorded a maximum precipitation in more than 3500 days under the influence of different air masses. More than 73% of the factors associated with precipitation in Iran, especially in its northwest, west, and southwest are various synoptic systems (cyclones and short waves) entering the country from the Mediterranean with westerly winds. The minimum number of rainy days during the whole statistical period and also during the low-pressure activity of the Red Sea were also recorded in the southern and southwestern parts of the study area.