Atmospheric circulation conditions and sea surface temperatures teleconnections for warm season heat waves in Saudi Arabia: A preliminary assessment

Authors: Ali S. Alghamdi*, Department of Geography, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, US & Department of Geography, King Saud University, Riyadh, KSA, John Harrington, Jr., Department of Geography, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, US
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Arid Regions, Middle East
Keywords: Heat waves, atmospheric circulation, SSTs, Ward's minimum variance classification
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Galerie 6, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Little detailed information is available about the physical factors contributing to the formation and intensity of warm season heat waves (HWs) in Saudi Arabia. The research objectives were to identify the synoptic situations that are related to HW occurrence; how are the frequency and intensity of HW related to different circulation types, and possible links/associations between HWs days and the sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies of nearby large bodies of water (i.e., Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea, and Red Sea). Cluster analysis was used to distinguish different circulation/weather patterns associated with different HWs and three distinct types were found.
The Indian Summer Monsoon Trough (ISMT) was related to two weather types (types 1 and 3) and its absence was connected to one weather type (type 2). About 58% of the occurrences of HW days induced by weather types 1 and 3 were connected with negative anomalies in sea level pressure and heights at the 850 hPa level and had higher temperatures on average. The least frequent type 3 was related to a strong ISMT and accompanied by an intensification of the Arabian heat low. Type 2 HW events (43%) had positive anomalies at all heights. HW types 1 and 3 showed warm SSTs over all of the studied seas except the Arabian Sea, whereas weather type 2 showed warm surface temperature only over the Arabian Sea. HWs in Saudi Arabia seemed to occur during regional warming as atmospheric circulation conditions and SSTs teleconnections suggested.

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