Relationship between AOD and synoptic circulation over the Eastern Mediterranean: A comparison between subjective and objective classifications

Shalev Bodenheimer*, Ronit Nirel, Itamar M. Lensky, Uri Dayan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Eastern Mediterranean (EM) Basin is strongly affected by dust originating from two of the largest world sources: The Sahara Desert and the Arabian Peninsula. Climatologically, the distribution pattern of aerosol optical depth (AOD), as proxy to particulate matter (PM), is known to be correlated with synoptic circulation. The climatological relationship between circulation type classifications (CTCs) and AOD levels over the EM Basin (“synoptic skill”) was examined for the years 2000–2014. We compared the association between subjective (expert-based) and objective (fully automated) classifications and AOD using autoregressive models. After seasonal adjustment, the mean values of R2 for the different methods were similar. However, the distinct spatial pattern of the R2 values suggests that subjective classifications perform better in their area of expertise, specifically in the southeast region of the study area, while, objective CTCs had better synoptic skill over the northern part of the EM. This higher synoptic skill of subjective CTCs stem from their ability to identify distinct circulation types (e.g. Sharav lows and winter lows) that are infrequent but are highly correlated with AOD. Notably, a simple CTC based on seasonality rather than meteorological parameters predicted well AOD levels, especially over the south-eastern part of the domain. Synoptic classifications that are area-oriented are likely better predictors of AOD and possibly other environmental variables.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)253-261
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Volume177
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • AOD
  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • Synoptic classification

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