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The changes in the frequency of daily precipitation in Urmia Lake basin, Iran

Salehi Bavil, Sepideh, Zeinalzadeh, Kamran, Hessari, Behzad
Theoretical and applied climatology 2018 v.133 no.1-2 pp. 205-214
atmospheric precipitation, basins, climate change, ecosystems, evapotranspiration, lakes, regression analysis, runoff, watersheds, Iran
Urmia Lake, as one of the most valuable saline ecosystems in the world, has faced a sharp drop in the water level in recent years. The trend studies of climatic parameters can be effective in identifying the responsible factors and managing this crisis. This research investigated the frequency trend of daily precipitation in the ranges of less than 5 mm, 5–10 mm, 10–15 mm, 15–20 mm, and more than 20 mm in the Urmia Lake basin. The trend was assessed using Mann-Kendall, Spearman Rho and linear regression tests on 60 stations during a period of 30 years (1981 to 2011). The results showed that in all the three tests, the frequency of daily precipitation of less than 5 mm had a significant increase at 1% level. The 5–10 mm range displayed no significant trend, while the 10–15 mm range showed a significantly decreasing trend. The frequency in the 15–20 mm and above 20 mm ranges showed an insignificant falling trend. The analysis also indicated jumps in 1996 and 1999 (almost coinciding with the sharp drop in the lake’s water level). In other words, the frequency trends of daily precipitation with small amounts (as a result, high evapotranspiration loss) were increasing and with large amounts were decreasing. This can be a contributor to reduced run-off and, hence, decreased water entering the lake. The results emphasize the need for changes in the management and consumption of water resources in the basin, in order to adapt to the climatic change.