The sources of extreme precipitation predictability; the case of the ‘Wet’ Red Sea Trough

Assaf Hochman*, Tair Plotnik, Francesco Marra, Elizabeth Ruth Shehter, Shira Raveh-Rubin, Leehi Magaritz-Ronen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Extreme precipitation events inflict detrimental socio-economic impacts in the Eastern Mediterranean. These are mainly associated with Mediterranean cyclones or the ‘Wet’ Red Sea Trough (WRST). The region's weather forecasters consider the second challenging to forecast, even just a few days in advance. Here, we study the dynamic and thermodynamic factors influencing the intrinsic predictability of WRST events. With this aim, we combine insights from traditional atmospheric analysis techniques, Lagrangian air-parcel backward trajectories, and dynamical systems theory. The latter describes atmospheric states via their local dimension (d) and inverse persistence (θ), which inform us of the intrinsic predictability of the atmosphere in phase space. We compare WRST events of low (upper decile of d and θ) with high (lower decile of d and θ) predictability. We argue that low-predictability events display a significantly different atmospheric pattern. Moreover, the low-predictability events show significantly higher daily precipitation rates, more extensive spatial spread, and greater precipitation variability among events than more predictable ones. On average, low predictability events are initiated by two distinct moisture sources with different water vapor content. We conclude that the dynamical systems framework may become a valuable tool to improve the forecast of extreme precipitation events associated with the WRST by providing a priori information on their intrinsic predictability. We foresee successfully implementing such a framework for other extreme weather events and regions.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number100564
JournalWeather and Climate Extremes
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)


  • Chaos
  • Dynamical systems
  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • Extreme weather
  • Heavy precipitation
  • Middle East
  • Numerical weather prediction


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