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Title: Investigating the temporal variability of the standardized precipitation index in Lebanon
Authors: Mahfouz, Peter Elie
Mitri, George 
Jazi, Mireille
Karam, Fadi
Affiliations: Institute of Environment 
Keywords: Drought
Climate variability
Standardized Precipitation Index
Issue Date: 2016
Part of: Journal of climate
Volume: 4
Issue: 2
Start page: 1
End page: 14
The impact of global climate change on Lebanons society, environment, and economy is expected to be tremendous. Indices have been developed to help in the identification and monitoring of drought and characterization of its severity. In this context, this work aimed at assessing the temporal variability of the Standardized Precipitation Index in Lebanon for improved understanding of drought occurrence. This is expected to help in mitigation and response actions to future drought circumstances across the country. The methodology of work involved the calculation of the Standardized Precipitation Index over different time series from four regions across the country using both the Variability Analysis of Surface Climate Observations (VASClimO) gridded rainfall dataset for the period 1951–2000 and the European rainfall dataset E-OBS for the period 1950–2014. In general, higher precipitation values were recorded by the VASClimO dataset than those coming from the E-OBS dataset. Intra-annual precipitation changes showed increasing precipitation starting in September-October and decreasing precipitation starting in February. The VASClimO dataset showed a 50% increase in the frequency of severe drought conditions, while the E-OBS dataset indicated a 60% increase in the frequency of moderate drought conditions. In addition, it was observed that the winter of 2014, characterized by extreme drought conditions, was the driest in the past 56 years. Although specific years were commonly characterized by severe to extreme drought conditions with the use of both datasets, considerable differences between the two datasets were observed with respect to the identification of the degree of wet and dry conditions for some other years. Overall, trend lines for the Standardized Precipitation Index values, as derived from VASClimO and E-OBS datasets, commonly point to a relatively slight increase in drought conditions mainly in the winter-spring season; however, the situation on the ground.
Open URL: Link to full text
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Department of Environmental Science

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