ENSO – Mediterranean Teleconnections

Approximately five hundred million people live in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea where continued population growth has greatly intensified pressures on available arable lands. Anomalously high seasonal temperatures or low precipitation due to interannual climate variability can decimate agricultural yields and increase the burden on surface and subsurface water resources. This variability and its impact on crops and other resources underscore the need for skillful seasonal prediction of temperature and precipitation. Temperatures and precipitation around the Mediterranean basin are significantly affected by snow cover over northern Eurasia, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Arctic Oscillation (AO), and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). These remote influences suggest the potential for skillful seasonal forecast exists, and we pro- pose to study these teleconnections, understand their mechanisms, and explore this potential for seasonal forecast of Mediterranean climate.

The overall objective of this project is to explore the teleconnection mechanisms between Mediterranean climate and the relevant major climate variability modes that are known to influence it (ENSO, Eurasian snow cover, AO, NAO), using observations and a hierarchy of models, and then to explore possible seasonal forecast skill as well.

Funding for this work is provided by the Climate and Large-Scale Dynamics program of the National Science Foundation.