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Expert: Lack of Rain ‘Cause for Concern’

Climate expert admits worry over relatively sparse rainfall.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 1/16/2014, 10:35 AM

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The relatively sparse rainfall over the past month is reason for concern, a climate expert has said.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Avner Furshpan of the meteorological service explained that relatively little rain has fallen in Israel since the heavy storm a month ago.

“There is reason to be worried. Rain hasn’t come in the quantities we would have liked. While it’s not common, we’ve seen [dry] winters like this before,” he said.

“Even before the storm, until mid-December, there was a long dry spell,” he noted. “During the storm there were large quantities of precipitation… But until the storm there were only small rain showers.”

The dry spell in November and into December led Israel’s Chief Rabbis to issue a call for special prayers for rain.

However, Furshpan said, despite the current shortage in precipitation, there is still reason for hope. “Right now we’re definitely disappointed, but this isn’t considered a drought. It’s still mid-January, we still have February, March and April. A lot of rain could fall then.”

Some have argued that the rainy season is expected to last longer this year due to the leap year in the Hebrew calendar, which has added an extra month to the Hebrew calendar’s rainy season. Furshpan said those arguments are not scientifically valid.

“While I have great respect for the Hebrew calendar, the Hebrew calendar is based on the moon, while the Gregorian calendar is based on the sun. And it is the rays of the sun that influence the weather,” he explained.

“But in any case, we should stay optimistic,” he concluded.