Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tel Aviv will flood again

Green Prophet: It’s warming up again this week in Israel, just after a series of storms last week that began with major flooding on the Mediterranean Coast and ended with Jerusalem of Gold turned to white after a serious snowstorm. Reports on the flooding of the Yarkon River, which shut down large sections of Tel Aviv for a day, including its major highway, have addressed the insufficient drainage system, but little has been made of the connection between climate change and severe weather events.

Professors Pinhas Alpert and Colin Price, lecturers at the Porter School of Environmental Studies’ International MA Program at Tel Aviv University, have predicted that increased flooding will result from global climate change. Alpert helped to pioneer the use of cellular phone networks for monitoring the amount and intensity of precipitation and water vapor – measurements which are virtually free of charge and can be used for studying global climate systems.

Prof. Colin Price, Head of the Department of Geophysical, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, researches the Earth’s changing climate and what impact it will have on global thunderstorms. He predicts that a relatively small change in global temperatures – a one degree rise – will result in a significant increase in lighting activity. He expects that in drier climates like Israel the storms may become fewer in number, but more intense with stronger and more rainfall and lightning.

This is precisely what happened last week in Israel, when the largest storm since 2003 hit the country and provided as much rain as certain cities see in an entire winter, according to the Israel Meteorological Service.

“Intense rainstorms in Israel can cause flash flooding, which causes increased runoff that doesn’t reach the aquifers,” says Price. “The water scarcity problem in this region is exacerbated when rainfall doesn’t recharge the groundwater supply and precious drinking water flows out to sea.”...

The harbor in Tel Aviv, shot by Daniel winter, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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