The climate models for the upcoming winter in Israel are not encouraging. For eight years Israel has been going through dry winters. In the last few weeks this topic has often been discussed in the media. Most fear a dry winter, with or without the models.
Even though Israel’s desalination plants are increasingly responsible for national water supplies, they are not an alternative to the necessary rainfall. The water level of the country’s main reservoirs are falling every year.
Israel’s Meteorological Service reported this week that there is a 35 percent chance of a rainy winter, a 37 percent change of an average winter, and a 27 percent chance of a dry winter. It would seem difficult to accurately predict what kind of winter we will have from these numbers.
“The models in our region have never been accurate compared to tropical areas,” explained Dr. Yoav Levi, who heads the Research Department of the Meteorological Service. “In the past five years, we have only twice accurately projected the winter months.”
For Dr. Baruch Ziv, a climate researcher at the Open University in Tel Aviv, the real start of winter is still to come. “A few weeks will pass before the first fierce rain will arrive in Israel,” Ziv told the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot. “This is a problem for us. A November without precipitation is an expensive problem for our farmers, as they have to irrigate their dry fields with the irrigation system.”
Dr. Ziv also pointed out that precipitation in Central Europe has intensified considerably in recent years. But Israel is always left out. In 2010, Israel was surprised when a dry November was followed by a massive snowstorm in December.
“The climate is shifting, and this makes it very difficult to offer reliable weather forecasts,” said Dr. Ziv. Nevertheless, local farmers and religious Jews continue to pray that the land will be abundantly blessed this winter, despite the forecasts.