By Faranak Bakhtiari

Iran climate: wet spell or still short of rain?

April 14, 2020 - 19:6

TEHRAN – While some experts claim that Iran has entered a period of the wet spell after experiencing dry spells over the past few decades, some others highly reject the claim implying that the country faced a lack of rain by 50mm over the past 5 decades.

Rainfall extremes over the past three years slowly questioned the conception that Iran is experiencing a long-term drought and some of the experts announced that wet spell will embrace the country.

Referring to the country's three-year continued rainfall, Hossein Ardakanian, a meteorologist told Mehr that the country entered a period of heavier downpours and wet spells.

Iran's rainfall in these years has met normal and above normal levels, he noted.

The meteorologist criticized the lack of accurate information about the change in the normality of rainfall in the country, saying that the improvement in rainfall has led to Iran's entry into the wet spells.

Noting that the spring rains will continue until the middle of June this year, he said that with this amount of rainfall, the country's dams and reservoirs are in good condition and we should think about collecting the runoff for the coming years.

According to the meteorologist, the rains could cause damages to the western, northwestern and northeastern gardens of the country in the coming days.

Although statistics show that Iran’s weather patterns are changing toward entering a period of consecutive rainy days, given the country’s climate characteristic constantly experiencing intense wet and dry spells, it cannot be accurate to claim that drought is over.

Inquired whether the country will be having a wet spell, Sadeq Ziaeian, head of the director of the national center for drought and crisis management, affiliated to Iran Meteorological Organization, said explained that over the past 50 years, the annual rainfall has decreased by about 1.2 millimeters, and in total, more than 50 millimeters of the country's average rainfall has dropped; these are very high figures for an arid and semi-arid country, he explained.

As long as, the country's average rainfall rate is 60 percent above the world's rainfall, and now a 50 mm decrease in that amount makes the situation unsatisfactory, he lamented.

Still long-term drought 

Ziaeian went on to point out that recent heavy rains and even floods could be said to have pushed Iran into a period of wet spells.

Forecasting rainfall for the whole country in the coming decades demonstrates a decreasing trend, but we may have a few years of heavy downpours in this period, but in general, the number of years with drought is more. 

He went on to emphasize that experiencing two or three consecutive years of rainy days cannot ensure that drought no longer hits the country, but then it may enter a multi-year drought.

Since the beginning of the current crop year (September 23, 2019), the whole country has received some 248.6 millimeters of precipitation which demonstrates a 29.7 percent increase compared to its long term mean of 191.7 mm, according to the statistic published by the meteorological organization.

This is while the country is 9.8 percent short of rain compared to the previous year.

The meteorological organization estimates the long term mean for the past 30 years.

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