Does air pollution really suppress precipitation in Israel?

Pinhas Alpert*, N. Halfon, Z. Levin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Trends in the orographic rainfall ratio R0 over Israel are reevaluated. It is shown that the rainfall has not changed significantly over most of the mountainous stations, with some significant increases over the central mountains. The overall evaluation of R0 for all potential station pairs, calculating the ratio of each mountain station separately over each coastal or seashore station, indicates that about 50% of all pairs show a positive trend in R0. The high spatial variability, especially over the mountains, allows for finding orographic rainfall ratio trends that are significant in both the positive and negative directions. The correct definition of R0 in the Israeli case requires the use of a seashore cluster of stations. If some of the seashore stations are replaced by inland stations, and in particular stations that are right over the region of maximum positive rainfall urban enhancement due to the thermal heat island or other urban effects, a seemingly decreasing "orographic ratio" is unavoidable. In such a case, urban dynamical positive effects on coastal rainfall can be erroneously interpreted as pollution suppression of orographic rainfall. When seashore stations are selected as required by a proper definition of the orographic ratio, increasing R0 is obtained over central Israel and an insignificant trend over the north is found. Furthermore, evaluation of the ratio of rainfall for the upwind in comparison with the downwind side of the Galilee Mountains exhibits an increasing trend, opposite to the recent findings of Givati and Rosenfeld. The rainfall analysis shows no evidence of any suppression of rainfall over the mountains due to pollution, and at least in Israel other factors besides aerosols are predominant in defining the trends in the orographic rainfall ratio.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)933-943
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008


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