Easterly wind storms over Israel

H. Saaroni, B. Ziv, A. Bitan, P. Alpert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Continental wind storms are common along the Mediterranean coast. Along the northern coast they are mostly cold, similar to the Bora or the Mistral, and along the southern coast they are mostly warm, e.g., the Ghibli or the Shirocco. At the eastern Mediterranean basin and the Levant region, these storms are intermittently warm and cold during the same season and often even during the same event. Quasistationary systems, as well as moving disturbances, are the cause of such wind storms. Accordingly, the resulting weather conditions may be extremely converse due to the characteristics of the advected airmass. Specific regions in Israel, sensitive to easterly storms, are influenced by these wind storms for about 10% of the year (e.g., the westerly slopes of the mountains and valleys with west-east orientation). The frequency, however, of widespread storms covering the entire region is only approximately 1.4% of the entire year. These wind storms are therefore classified in the present study according to their climatological and synoptic characteristics; indicating that the dominant synoptic situation is the Red-Sea trough and the warm advections. These storms appear only from October-May and are most frequent during the cold season. The diurnal course is characterized by a strengthening in the morning hours and a weakening at noon and in the afternoon hours, due to the opposing effect of the westerly sea breeze, suppressing the easterly winds and the effect of katabatic winds. Nevertheless, synoptic conditions may contribute to this tendency as well. Accordingly, a significant increase in the frequencies of easterly storms, in relation to distance from the seashore has been identified. Although most of the stormy days are with westerly winds, the easterly wind storms has vast environmental implications, creating damage especially to agriculture and occasionally also to property and life; coastal flooding, potential air pollution, intensifying of forest fires and occasionally dust and sand storms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-77
Number of pages17
JournalTheoretical and Applied Climatology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1998


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