Academy contribution towards Global Change of Hydrology Cycle -GLOWA Jordan River Project

Academy contribution towards Global Change of Hydrology Cycle -GLOWA Jordan River Project

31 October, 2008

Palestine Academy has signed in 2004 the contract of the tri-lateral GLOWA – Jordan River Part 2 project. The project, funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), is part of the Global Change of Hydrology Cycle (GLOWA) program (an international study of the future of the water scarce Jordan River basin under the impact of climate and global change)


Global Change Research is done with the objective of revealing to politics, industry and society the causes of the global pattern changes observed and the interactions involved, the extent to which the natural variability of global environmental phenomena is influenced by humankind, the extent to which changes can be forecasted, and the implications of these changes for social systems, in particular with regard to the aim of sustainable development. Because global environmental changes alter the current and future living conditions of people, there is and increasing need to shift this research towards more direct practical applications in order to help provide answers to the questions raised by stakeholders and decision-makers. As a major contribution to this, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has launched the GLOWA program (Globalen wandel des Wasserkreislauf or Global Change of the Water Cycle). GLOWA focuses on the problem of water availability. The aim is to develop simulation-tools and instruments which will allow to develop and to realize strategies for sustainable and future-oriented water management at a regional level while taking into account global environmental changes and the socio-economic framework conditions.

Within GLOWA there are five large cluster projects. Two of them are located in Germany (Danube, Elbe), the other are investigating river catchment areas in North and West Africa (Drâa, Ouémé, Volta) as well as in the Near East (Jordan). Each of these projects is tackling the following scientific core themes in an interdisciplinary and integrative research approach:

  • Natural variability of precipitation, variations caused by human activities and their effect on the hydrological circle;
  • Interactions between the hydrological circle, the biosphere and land use;
  • Water availability and conflicting water uses.

About GLOWA Jordan River

GLOWA Jordan River focuses on one of the most critical regions of current and future water scarcity. It is an interdisciplinary project that addresses the vulnerability of water resources in the Jordan River catchment under global change, as a case study of eastern Mediterranean environments. An integrated research approach provides scientific underpinning for sustainable and cooperative management practices. The project will also address non-conventional methods of water management, such as desalination, wastewater reuse and water imports, as well as their ecological and socio-economic implications. The multitude of stakeholders in the basin calls for a multilateral research consortium of Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian and German research institutions. A modeling framework is developed to integrate data, information and methods from various disciplines. A dialogue with regional stakeholders is held both simultaneously with the design of research strategies and methods, as well as at a later stage when synthesizing results, for producing information which is relevant for water management.

The main work packages are: (1) global change, (2) water resources, (3) ecosystems, (4) agriculture and (5) integration and stakeholder participation. Extreme events, such as severe drought spells will receive special attention within these work packages.

In order to get an overall picture of the research area, two complementary projects cover the scientific tasks of the GLOWA Jordan River project:

  • GLOWA Jordan River Part 1, which mainly works on the upper catchment of the Jordan River and involves Germany and Israel;
  • GLOWA Jordan River Part 2, which focuses on the lower catchment of the Jordan River and involves Germany, Palestine and Jordan.

Long term goals are joint activities and the integration of both parts of the project, in order to provide scientific support for a joint management of water resources – including transboundary resources - in all parts of the basin (including outside regions that receive water from the basin).

The Palestine Academy is a scientific partner in the GLOWA project. The activities of Phase I include identification of the model domain, identification of land-use, identification of the relevant spatial resolution, and identification of the needed meteorological data.

The Palestine Academy completed part of the research on climate change scenarios for the region and its impact on the water budget in the Jordan River Basin (Work Package I) in cooperation with the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research. The overall objectives of Work Package I are the study of the influence of global climate change on the regional climate and specifically the change in climate parameters of the Jordan River catchment area. Main aims are:

  • To derive realistic parameters, describing regional climate changes interacting with the Mediterranean circulation.
  • To develop regional high resolution scenarios for climate and land use change required by the other GLOWA-Part 2 working groups.

Specific emphasis is given to the following scientific questions:

  • Is high resolution regional climate modeling able to reproduce the sharp transition of climate zones and the spatial and temporal climatic variability in the Jordan River Basin?
  • What is the expected future climate change and what is its effect on atmospheric water balance?
  • What are the uncertainties of results with respect to the different driving scenarios?

Results are now being analyzed in order to build the future climate change scenarios needed by the other working groups. Parts of the results were presented in a GLOWA stakeholder workshop held in Ramallah by GLOWA’s national coordinating institute, the Palestinian Hydrology Group (PHG), on 2 February 2005.

GLOWA – Jordan River II- Phase II Climate Change Modeling

The partners' institutions implement the second phase of GLOWA-Jordan River PALAST continued the progress in working on the climate change scenarios. PALAST worked in cooperation with Potsdam Institute for climate impact research PIK using the STAR statistical downscaling model and running simulation based on ECHAM4.0 model run that used SRES A1B-Scenario for the domain chosen that extends 29o -34o and from 34o -36o Latitude and Longitude respectively on a 8km x 8km grid resolution. Two runs were done for two time slices, the first with climate observation parameters that covers the period 1958 – 1996 using data from PIK meteorological data bank in order to develop the trend needed for the simulated time slice. The second run simulates the climate trend for the time slice 2007 – 2045. The two sets of data are:

  1. Observation climate data for the time slice 1958-1996, which include:

     2. Simulation climate data for the time slice 2007-2045, which include:

Based on the analysis of the data obtained, the simulation indicated an increase of average temperature over the simulation period (2007 – 2045) that reaches 0.75 oC (Figure 1 below). With respect the precipitation, simulation showed expected decrease in rainfall mainly in the northern part of the domain. Figure 2 showed the observed precipitation distributed and the change during the course of 2007-2045.


Figure 1: annual average temperature for the observation time slice (1958-1996) and temperature changes for the scenario A1B for the time slice (2007-2045)


Figure 2: Annual average precipitation for the observation time slice (1958-1996) and changes in precipitation for the scenario A1B for the time slice (2007-2045)


Hydrological parameters for Palestine/West Bank (Gaza Strip under construction)

Some presentations presented by PALAST locally (Ar) and Internationally (En)