Regional Climate Modeling
South-West Asia is a relatively data sparse region of the world however it is interesting for several reasons. It is a region marked by political conflict. Rapid population growth and water scarcity are common throughout the area, rendering it sensitive to changes in climate. This emphasizes the importance of good meteorological and climatic knowledge to the region.
The region is interesting both meteorologically and climatically being a predominantly semi-arid to arid region surrounded by the Black and Caspian Seas in the north, the Mediterranean in the West and the Red Sea and Persian Gulf in the south, and crossed by the impressive Tauros and Zagros mountains. It includes the archeologically important Fertile Crescent, the birthplace of agriculture and civilization. This change from fertile then, to (semi-)arid now poses an interesting question about the paleo-climate evolution of the region, and the link between this evolution and the vegetation of the area.
The eventual aim of this work is to address various paleo-climatic and agricultural questions.
The sparsity of atmospheric data is accompanied by a corresponding sparsity in the meteorological and climatic literature. A general description of Near East climate is given by Taha et al. . Analysis of natural vegetation and climate can be found in Nahal  and Zohary , while various aspects of the regions meteorology have been studied in Eshel and Farrell ; Eshel and Farrell ; Reddaway and Bigg ; Rodwell and Hoskins ; Saaroni and Ziv .
Here, we use a regional climate model developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) USA, RegCM2, as well as a climate version of their MM5, to numerically model the climate for the region. Some model validation and investigation of dominant precipitation processes can be found here. Given adequate reproduction of present climate by the model it will then be used to investigate various aspects of current climate and, in conjunction with some paleo-climate GCM runs made using CCM3, to investigate the evolution of the paleo-climate and it's influence on the rise of agriculture and civilization.
The immediate continuance of this work includes further experiments with the regional climate model such as including a more comprehensive microphysics parameterization and incorporating a two-way nest in order to have better definition of the mountains along the Mediterranean coast. Further examination of results with specific interest in water sources and transport, coastal effects, summer convection and the scale dependence of precipitation.
Experiments aimed at identifying the role of each of the major water bodies in the region will also be conducted along with increased CO2 experiments. The eventual aim of this work being to conduct paleo-climate experiments. To identify regional impacts of changes in climate over the past several thousand years and their implications for agriculture and the rise of civilization.