Effect of extreme rainfall events on the water resources of the Jordan River

Rana Samuels*, Alon Rimmer, Pinhas Alpert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As a response to climate change, shifting rainfall trends including increased multi-year droughts and an escalation in extreme rainfall events are expected in the Middle East. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the potential impact of these shifting trends on stream flow in the Jordan River and its tributaries. We use a non-homogeneous hidden Markov model to generate artificial daily rainfall simulations which capture independently shifting trends of increased droughts and escalated extreme. These simulations are then used as input into a hydrological model calibrated for the upper catchments of the Jordan River to compare the impact on stream flow and water resources between the different rainfall scenarios. We compare the predicted baseflow and surface flow components of the tested watersheds, and find that while an increase in extreme rainfall events increases the intensity and frequency of surface flow, the over all flow to the Jordan River, and the characteristics of the baseflow in the Jordan River system is not largely impacted. In addition, though it has been suggested that in the case of a multi-year drought the karstic nature of the aquifer might lead to more intense, non-linear reductions in stream flow, here we quantify and show the conditions when annual stream flow reduce linearly with rainfall, and when these relations will become non-linear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-523
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2009


  • Climate change
  • Coupled hydrological model
  • Extreme precipitation
  • Jordan River
  • Karst aquifer


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