Israel Is Warming Up and Drying Out, Researchers Find

Ben-Gurion University experts published a study of Israeli climate trends in the scientific journal 'Climate Change.'

Most parts of Israel are becoming increasingly drier, two researchers have found.

The researchers, Hendrik Bruins and Hemu Kafle of Ben-Gurion University's Desert Research Institute, published their study of Israeli climate trends in the scientific journal "Climate Change."

The one exception is the coastal plain, where moisture levels have been largely unchanged.

"The findings clearly show that most parts of the country are drying up, except for the coastal plain," Bruins said.

"The areas that are already arid are drying up the quickest. As for the coastal plain, we did not find changes there, and it seems that humidity and rainfall have remained fairly stable in relation to the temperature," he said. Israel is also using up its groundwater reserves, the researchers found.

Not only that, but new research shows that Israel can expect to become warmer over the next 50 years.

Global warming is expected to speed up over the next half century, particularly in areas close to deserts, Oxford researchers found.

The new study is being presented at an international conference on climate change at Oxford University this week.

It found that on average, global temperatures will jump by four degrees Celsius by 2060. Areas that border deserts - like Israel - can expect to become as much as seven degrees warmer.

The Oxford researchers attributed previous, more optimistic forecasts to the fact that scientists did not fully take into account the effects of deforestation and the rapid changes in the composition of the oceans.

The meteorologists used new, computerized models, which now predict that the best-case scenario, temperatures will rise by four degrees only by 2070.

The temperatures at the poles are expected to rise by 15 degrees by the end of the century, while in certain parts of Africa, temperatures will increase by 10 degrees on average.