The Climate of the Mediterranean Region – From the Past to the Future

The_climate_of_the_Med_regionEdited by Piero Lionello
DISTEBA (Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche e Ambientali), University of Salento, Lecce, Italy
CMCC (Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici), Lecce, Italy

Elsevier Oxford, 2012, Pages xxxv-xc, ISBN 9780124160422, 10.1016/B978-0-12-416042-2.00012-4.

The climate of the Mediterranean region – its past evolution, present variability, trends, and changes projected for the next decades – has been the object of many research studies and has attracted the interest of a large group of scientists. Such focus of international climate research on a relatively small region can be explained by three fundamental facts—its specific phenomenology, the well-developed cultural background of most Mediterranean countries, and the important social-economical-environmental impacts of climate variability and change.

The Mediterranean is in particular a hot spot for climate-related issues. The water cycle and its extremes are one of the major concerns. Many countries are overexploiting water resources, and water scarcity is a crucial problem for them, on that is expected, in many cases, to worsen in the future. On the other hand, episodes of exceptionally intense precipitation constitute a major hazard, and disastrous floods are a risk for many vulnerable regions around the Mediterranean coast. These problems require research and monitoring for the correct evaluation of the present risk and of its change in future climate scenarios. In this century, changes in the hydrological cycle are likely to affect both the terrestrial and marine environment in the Mediterranean region. The ecosystems in the sea will be affected by increasing temperature and salinity, the thermohaline circulation may weaken with important effects on sea stratification, sea-level rise has a strong regional connotation that contributes to the large uncertainty of its future evolution, and the interaction with the Atlantic Ocean can induce global effects caused by water-mass changes inside the Mediterranean Sea. These are only a few examples of issues of paramount importance that need to be investigated and understood to be able to propose mitigation and adaptation measures.

This book is an important product of the Mediterranean Climate Variability and Predictability (MedCLIVAR) program. It is a multi-authored manuscript written by a team of scientists very active in Mediterranean climate research. In a coordinated sequence of chapters, the book provides the present status of the knowledge on different aspects of the Mediterranean climate. They contain very useful reviews of the present research and overviews of recent developments and of new research interests. Environmentalists and policymakers will find in them clear and correct information on climate change at the regional Mediterranean scale.
This book consists of eight chapters and an Introduction providing a complete description of the Mediterranean climate evolution from paleoclimate to the twenty-first-century projections.

  • Piero Lionello, Fatima Abrantes, Letizia Congedi, Francois Dulac, Miro Gacic, Damià Gomis, Clare Goodess, Holger Hoff, Haim Kutiel, Jürg Luterbacher, Serge Planton, Marco Reale, Katrin Schröder, Maria Vittoria Struglia, Andrea Toreti, Michael Tsimplis, Uwe Ulbrich, Elena Xoplaki, Introduction: Mediterranean Climate—Background Information, In: P. Lionello, Editor(s), The Climate of the Mediterranean Region, Elsevier, Oxford, 2012, Pages xxxv-xc, ISBN 9780124160422, 10.1016/B978-0-12-416042-2.00012-4.

The Introduction, “Mediterranean Climate: Background Information” (Lionello et al.) provides essential information on the regional climate and a general view of the subjects that are considered in detail in the rest of the book, to which readers are directed for specialized discussions.

From the Introduction Chapter:

«Here, we introduce the main topics in current Mediterranean climate research and give a general description of the Mediterranean climate. Our aim is to provide essential information and a comprehensive view. We also anticipate the data, research results, and key findings that are presented in much more detail in the book chapters, to which the reader is directed for extensive discussion. In this introduction the regional climate system is introduced considering different timescales, from paleoclimate to centennial climate projection, attempting a seamless approach to the description of the evolution from past to future climate, and including not just the atmospheric variables but also the oceanic and land components. This introduction includes a discussion of the main open issues in the Mediterranean climate research and also briefly presents socioeconomic problems and vulnerabilities that are specific to the Mediterranean region.

This introductory chapter presents general and consolidated background knowledge to be referred to in the rest of the book and anticipates, though only partially, the information that is provided in the book chapters, where a complete description of scientific issues and recent research results is presented, including technical details and discussion of open issues. The content intends not only to reflect what is known about Mediterranean climate but also to highlight the open issues associated with limitations in data availability or lack of understanding of key processes. It provides essential information, which is not limited to basic climate variables, such as surface temperature and precipitation, but reflects the complexity of the climate system, the role of the main subsystems and factors, and includes also the links among environment, society, and climate».

  • Katrin Schroeder, Jesus Garcìa-Lafuente, Simon A. Josey, Vincenzo Artale, Bruno Buongiorno Nardelli, Adriana Carrillo, Miroslav Gačić, Gian Pietro Gasparini, Marine Herrmann, Piero Lionello, Wolfgang Ludwig, Claude Millot, Emin Özsoy, Giovanna Pisacane, Jose C. Sánchez-Garrido, Gianmaria Sannino, Rosalia Santoleri, Samuel Somot, Mariavittoria Struglia, Emil Stanev, Isabelle Taupier-Letage, Michael N. Tsimplis, Manuel Vargas-Yáñez, Vassilis Zervakis, George Zodiatis, 3 – Circulation of the Mediterranean Sea and its Variability, In: P. Lionello, Editor(s), The Climate of the Mediterranean Region, Elsevier, Oxford, 2012, Pages 187-256, ISBN 9780124160422, 10.1016/B978-0-12-416042-2.00003-3.

Chapter 3 “Circulation of the Mediterranean Sea and its variability” (Schroeder et al.), describes data, research results, and key findings that have been reported in the most recent literature about Mediterranean Sea circulation.

  • Uwe Ulbrich, Piero Lionello, Danijel Belušić, Jucundus Jacobeit, Peter Knippertz, Franz G. Kuglitsch, Gregor C. Leckebusch, Jürg Luterbacher, Maurizio Maugeri, Panagiotis Maheras, Katrin M. Nissen, Valentina Pavan, Joaquim G. Pinto, Hadas Saaroni, Stefanie Seubert, Andrea Toreti, Elena Xoplaki, Baruch Ziv, 5 – Climate of the Mediterranean: Synoptic Patterns, Temperature, Precipitation, Winds, and Their Extremes, In: P. Lionello, Editor(s), The Climate of the Mediterranean Region, Elsevier, Oxford, 2012, Pages 301-346, ISBN 9780124160422, 10.1016/B978-0-12-416042-2.00005-7.

Chapter 5, “Climate of the Mediterranean: Synoptic Patterns, Temperature, Precipitation, Winds, and Their Extremes” (Ulbrich et al.), describes the synoptic climatology of the Mediterranean region and its links with means and extremes of temperature, precipitation, wind, and storminess.

  • Laurent Li, Alberto Casado, Letizia Congedi, Alessandro Dell’Aquila, Clotilde Dubois, Alberto Elizalde, Blandine L’ Hévéder, Piero Lionello, Florence Sevault, Samuel Somot, Paolo Ruti, Matteo Zampieri, 7 – Modeling of the Mediterranean Climate System, In: P. Lionello, Editor(s), The Climate of the Mediterranean Region, Elsevier, Oxford, 2012, Pages 419-448, ISBN 9780124160422, 10.1016/B978-0-12-416042-2.00007-0.

Chapter 7, “Modeling of the Mediterranean Climate System” (Li et al.), discusses the basic performances of both global and regional climate models in simulating the Mediterranean climate. They also include the general circulation of the Mediterranean Sea. Regional coupled models are an important new topic considered in this chapter.

  • Serge Planton, Piero Lionello, Vincenzo Artale, Rolland Aznar, Adriana Carrillo, Jeanne Colin, Letizia Congedi, Clotilde Dubois, Alberto Elizalde, Silvio Gualdi, Elke Hertig, Jucundus Jacobeit, Gabriel Jordà, Laurent Li, Annarita Mariotti, Claudio Piani, Paolo Ruti, Emilia Sanchez-Gomez, Gianmaria Sannino, Florence Sevault, Samuel Somot, Michael Tsimplis, 8 – The Climate of the Mediterranean Region in Future Climate Projections, In: P. Lionello, Editor(s), The Climate of the Mediterranean Region, Elsevier, Oxford, 2012, Pages 449-502, ISBN 9780124160422, 10.1016/B978-0-12-416042-2.00008-2.

Future climate change is discussed in Chapter 8, “The Climate of the Mediterranean Region in Future Climate Projections” (Planton et al.), which presents a synthesis of expected changes from recent regional simulations. It considers mean climate and climate extremes, changes in Mediterranean Sea temperature, salinity, circulation, water and heat budgets, and sea level and their uncertainties.


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