University of Oulu

Fazel, N., Berndtsson, R., Uvo, C.B. et al. Theor Appl Climatol (2018) 132: 363.

Regionalization of precipitation characteristics in Iran’s Lake Urmia basin

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Author: Fazel, Nasim1; Berndtsson, Ronny2,3; Bertacchi Uvo, Cintia3;
Organizations: 1Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
3Department of Water Resources Engineering, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
4Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, London, UK
5Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-12-03


Lake Urmia in northwest Iran, once one of the largest hypersaline lakes in the world, has shrunk by almost 90% in area and 80% in volume during the last four decades. To improve the understanding of regional differences in water availability throughout the region and to refine the existing information on precipitation variability, this study investigated the spatial pattern of precipitation for the Lake Urmia basin. Daily rainfall time series from 122 precipitation stations with different record lengths were used to extract 15 statistical descriptors comprising 25th percentile, 75th percentile, and coefficient of variation for annual and seasonal total precipitation. Principal component analysis in association with cluster analysis identified three main homogeneous precipitation groups in the lake basin. The first sub-region (group 1) includes stations located in the center and southeast; the second sub-region (group 2) covers mostly northern and northeastern part of the basin, and the third sub-region (group 3) covers the western and southern edges of the basin. Results of principal component (PC) and clustering analyses showed that seasonal precipitation variation is the most important feature controlling the spatial pattern of precipitation in the lake basin. The 25th and 75th percentiles of winter and autumn are the most important variables controlling the spatial pattern of the first rotated principal component explaining about 32% of the total variance. Summer and spring precipitation variations are the most important variables in the second and third rotated principal components, respectively. Seasonal variation in precipitation amount and seasonality are explained by topography and influenced by the lake and westerly winds that are related to the strength of the North Atlantic Oscillation. Despite using incomplete time series with different lengths, the identified sub-regions are physically meaningful.

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Series: Theoretical and applied climatology
ISSN: 0177-798X
ISSN-E: 1434-4483
ISSN-L: 0177-798X
Volume: 132
Issue: 1-2
Pages: 363 - 373
DOI: 10.1007/s00704-017-2090-0
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 218 Environmental engineering
1172 Environmental sciences
415 Other agricultural sciences
Copyright information: © Springer-Verlag Wien 2017. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Theor Appl Climatol. The final authenticated version is available online at: