According to the first report of the State of Israel to the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability to climate change in Israel, the following climate scenarios are projected for Israel by the year 2100:
- Mean temperature increase of 1.6° to1.8°C
- Reduction in precipitation by (-8)% to (-4)%
- Increase in evapotranspiration by 10%
- Delayed winter rains
- Increased rain intensity and shortened rainy season
- Greater seasonal temperature variability
- Increased frequency and severity of extreme climate events
- Greater spatial and temporal climatic uncertainty.
Related environmental changes:
- Sea level rise of 12-88cm
- 560ppmv of atmospheric CO2 concentration by the year 2040-2065.
Israel, is an affected country party of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD), and is therefore committed to combat desertification within its territory. As in many other drylands, desertification is expected to be exacerbated by climate change also in Israel, and especially in the Judean Desert highlands and in the northern Negev. Furthermore, desertification is also one of the drivers of global and regional climate change. Thus measures for combating desertification constitute adaptations to climate change. Options for combating desertification in Israel are:
- Management of rangelands to prevent overgrazing;
- Afforestation in regions of over 90 mm annual rainfall, for arresting soil erosion and enhance precipitation at the mesoscale level (Otterman et al. 1990; Sharon 1993; Perlin and Alpert 2000);
- Gully management for enhancing soil moisture (Lavee et al. 1998), decresing leakage of water, soil and nutrients from desertified lands, and increasing plant productivity and diversity (Shachak et al. 1998);
- Implementation of salinity sensitive irrigation practices and breeding of salt- and drought-tolerant crops (e.g. the Biotechnology for Agriculture in Saline Environments (BASE) project jointly implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture of Israel at the University of California at Davis.
Adaptations proposed by Halpin (1997) for the projected climate change induced losses of biodiversity worldwide, that are applicable to Israel, are prioritizing reserves with local climatic diversity; managing landscape connectivity to facilitate dispersal and migration; and maintaining the natural disturbance patterns that generate resilience. Specific adaptations for Israel are the management of ecotones and of corridors.
Sources: Israel's Initial National Communication, 18 November 2000; and Climate Change, Israel National Report under The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: Impact, Vulnerability and Adaptation, October 2000.