Three-decade assessment of dry and wet spells change across Iran, a fingerprint of climate change

Sci Rep. 2023 Feb 18;13(1):2888. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-30040-0.


Extended periods of hydro-climate extremes with excessive or scarce rainfall associated with high or low temperatures have resulted in an imbalanced water cycle and inefficient socio-economic systems in several regions of Iran. However, there is a lack of comprehensive investigations on short-term to long-term variations in timing, duration, and temperature of wet/dry spells. This study bridges the current gap through a comprehensive statistical analysis of historical climatic data (1959-2018). Results indicated that the negative tendency of the accumulated rainfall (- 0.16/ - 0.35 mm/year during the past 60/30 years) in 2- to 6-day wet spells had made significant contributions to the ongoing downward trend in annual rainfall (- 0.5/ - 1.5 mm/year during the past 60/30 years) owing to a warmer climate condition. Warmer wet spells are likely responsible for precipitation patterns changes in snow-dominated stations since their wet spells temperature has more than threefold growth with increasing distance to coasts. The most detected trends in climatic patterns have started in the last two decades and become more severe from 2009 to 2018. Our results confirm the alteration of precipitation features across Iran due to anthropogenic climatic change, and suggest expected increase in air temperature would likely result in further dry and warm conditions over the coming decades.