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Kansas State University (2018)

Climatology of warm season heat waves in Saudi Arabia : a time-sensitive approach

Alghamdi, Ali Saeed Arifi

Titre : Climatology of warm season heat waves in Saudi Arabia : a time-sensitive approach

Auteur : Alghamdi, Ali Saeed Arifi

Université de soutenance : Kansas State University

Grade  : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2018

The climate of the Middle East is warming and extreme hot temperature events are becoming more common, as observed by the significant upward trends in mean and extreme temperatures during the last few decades. Climate modeling studies suggest that the frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme temperature events are expected to increase as the global and local climate continues to warm. Existing literature about heat waves (HWs) in Saudi Arabia provides information about HW duration using a single index, without considering the observed effects of climate change and the subtropical arid climate. With that in mind, this dissertation provides a series of three stand-alone papers evaluating temporal, geographic, and atmospheric aspects of the character of warm season (May-September) HWs in Saudi Arabia for 1985 to 2014. Chapter 2 examines the temporal behavior(s) of the frequency, duration, and intensity of HWs under the observed recent climate change. Several issues are addressed including the identification of some improved methodological practices for HW indices. A time-sensitive approach to define and detect HWs is proposed and assessed. HW events and their duration are considered as count data ; thus, different Poisson models were used for trend detection. Chapter 3 addresses the spatio-temporal patterns of the frequency and intensity of hot days and nights, and HWs. The chapter reemphasizes the importance of considering the on-goings effects of climate warming and applies a novel time-series clustering approach to recognize hot temperature event behavior through time and space. Chapter 4 explores the atmospheric circulation conditions that are associated with warm season HW event occurrence and how different HWs aspects are related to different circulation types. Further, possible teleconnections between HWs and sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies of nearby large bodies are examined. Results from Chapters 2 and 3 detected systematic upward trends in maximum and minimum temperatures at most of the 25 stations, suggesting an on-going change in the climatology of the upper-tail of the frequency distribution. The analysis demonstrated the value of using a time-sensitive approach in studying extreme thermal events. Different patterns were observed over time and space not only across stations but also among extreme temperature events (i.e., hot days and nights, and HWs). The overall results suggest that not only local and regional factors, such as elevation, latitude, land cover, atmospheric humidity, and distance from a large body of water, but also large-scale factors such as atmospheric circulation patterns are responsible for the observed temporal and spatial patterns. Chapter 4 confirmed that as the Indian Summer Monsoon Trough and the Arabian heat low were key atmospheric features related to HW days. SST anomalies seemed to be a more important factor for HWs intensity. Extreme thermal events in Saudi Arabia tended to occur during regional warming due to atmospheric circulation conditions and SSTs teleconnections. This study documents the value of a time-sensitive approach and should initiate further research as some of temporal and spatial variabilities were not fully explained

Sujets : Heat wave ; Time-sensitive thresholds ; Time-series clustering ; Synoptic climatology ; SSTs ; Saudi Arabia


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