Using EOF analysis over a large area for assessing the climate impact of small-scale afforestation in a semiarid region

Gil Yosef*, P. Alpert, C. Price, E. Rotenberg, D. Yakir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The authors suggest an approach to analyze the effects of small-scale afforestation on the surrounding climate of a large heterogenic area. While simple statistics have difficulty identifying the effect, here a well-known eigenvector technique is used to overcome several specific challenges that result from a limited research region, complex topography, and multiple atmospheric circulation patterns. This approach is applied to investigate the influence of the isolated Yatir forest, at the north edge of Israel's Negev Desert. It was found that this forest does influence the daily climate, primarily seen in the main pattern of the empirical orthogonal function (EOF) of temperature and humidity. The EOF explains 93% and 80%, respectively, of the total variance in the data. Although the Yatir forest is small, it is significant in regulating the climate in the nearby surroundings, as it is located in a sharp transition area toward an arid climate. The results are presented as maps of correlation and regression between the normalized principal component time series of each pattern as well as other time series of the raw data and spatially interpolated data stations. Analysis of short-term campaign measurements around the Yatir forest supports the EOF results, and shows the forest's influence to the south, mainly during nighttime when the forest becomes cooler than its surroundings. Overall, results suggest that in areas of transition to semiarid climates, forests regulate the surrounding surface air temperature and humidity fields. Wind analysis based on a complex EOF technique reveals the pattern of the daily cycle of surface wind over the region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2545-2559
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2017


FundersFunder number
Helmholtz Association


    • Atmosphere-land interaction
    • Empirical orthogonal functions
    • Interpolation schemes
    • Land use


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