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Droughts and Agriculture in Lebanon: Causes, Consequences, and Risk Management

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... The Lebanese coastal belt from Tripoli to Tyre is an urbanized zone with significant agricultural activities [33,34]. The highest bacterial counts, (Enterobacterales (Hafnia alvei (10 4 )) in winter and Pseudomonas luteola (10 4 ) in spring) were detected in the estuary of the capital Beirut. ...
... In our study, we showed that the levels of ARB and ARGs varied according to the location. The Lebanese coastal belt from Tripoli to Tyre is an urbanized zone with significant agricultural activities [33,34]. The highest bacterial counts, (Enterobacterales (Hafnia alvei (10 4 )) in winter and Pseudomonas luteola (10 4 ) in spring) were detected in the estuary of the capital Beirut. ...
Article
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Anthropogenic pressure is known to be a key driver of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) dissemination in the environment. Especially in lower income countries, with poor infrastructure, the level of AMR dissemination is high. Therefore, we assessed the levels and diversity of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in Lebanese rivers at estuaries' sites (n = 72) of the Mediterranean Sea in spring 2017 and winter 2018. Methods: A combined approach using culture techniques and high throughput qPCR were applied to identify ARB and ARGs in rivers along the Lebanese coast. Results: Multidrug-resistant Gram-negative (Enterobacterales and Pseudomonas spp.) and Gram-positive bacterial pathogens were isolated. Levels of ARGs were highest in the winter campaign and areas with high anthropogenic activities and population growth with an influx of refugees. Conclusion: Qualitative analysis of ARB and the analysis of the Lebanese estuaries' resistome revealed critical levels of contamination with pathogenic bacteria and provided significant information about the spread of ARGs in anthropogenically impacted estuaries.
... The major crops grown in the Valley are wheat, early potatoes and vegetables (Caiserman et al., 2019). Next to seasonal crops, many perennial fruit trees are grown in the Bekaa Valley, including apples, grapes, citrus, cherries, almonds, apricots, peaches, plums and pears (Verner et al., 2018). ...
... The Bekaa Valley is known as the country's food basket, and 42% of the total agricultural land is concentrated in the Valley (Verner et al., 2018). However, insufficient rainfall and its seasonality, make water a primary constraint for agricultural production (Saab et al., 2014). ...
Article
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A widely promoted approach to tackle food insecurity and water shortage challenges simultaneously is to enhance crop water productivity (WP). Therefore, multiple international organizations have featured WP improvements as their major policy goal, and substantial public and private investments have been made in this domain. Advances in remote sensing allow accurate, rapid, and cost-effective WP analysis for agricultural monitoring. However, translating the data to actionable information seems fraught with difficulties, as it only provides spatial and temporal variability in WP and no information on the causes of the variability. This paper introduces a standard approach using open-source remote sensing data for diagnosing reasons behind WP variations , comparing high performing fields (bright spots) with low performing fields (hotspots). The framework is applied to a case study on the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon considering wheat, potato and table grapes. Six factors (crop water stress, irrigation uniformity, soil salinity, nitrogen application, crop rotation and soil type) were analysed to identify their influence on WP and yield. This paper reveals that the growth of wheat and potatoes is negatively affected by water stress in the critical crop growth stages, non-uniform irrigation and nitrogen stress. Also, it was found that potatoes grown on clay-loam soil has better WP and yield than potatoes grown loam soil. Such information with regard to WP factors assists practitioners to identify priority areas and actions aiming at crop field level WP improvement. While acknowledging errors, uncertainties and caveats inherent to the use of remote sensing data, this paper shows the feasibility and practical usefulness of the diagnostic framework.
... Moreover, the level of air pollution is high: a study from 2015 attested that the annual average concentration of pollutant markers PM 2.5 and PM 10 in Beirut exceeded the limits of the World Health Organization (WHO) by 150% and 200%, respectively (Nakhlé et al., 2015). Other environmental problems in Lebanon include the waste crisis that triggered major protests in 2016 but remains unresolved (HRW, 2017) as well as the multiple drought periods, which are linked to climate change and are considered a health threat due to the destruction of agricultural resources and the onset of wild fires in vegetative regions (Verner et al., 2018). ...
Book
Focusing on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, which comprises some of the world’s richest countries next to some of the poorest, this book offers excellent insights into the discriminatory consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a geographic focus on the MENA region, the multidisciplinary case studies collected in this edited volume reveal that the coronavirus’s impact patterns are a question of two variables: governance performance and socioeconomic potency. Given the global, unprecedented, complex, and systemic nature of COVID-19 – and its long-term implications for societies, governments, international organisations, citizens and corporations – this volume entails a relevance to regions undergoing similar dynamics. Analyses in the book, therefore, have implications for the comparative study of the pandemic and its impact on societies around the globe. Understanding related dynamics and implications, and making use of lessons learned, are a pathway to deal with future similar crises. Questions covered in the volume are relevant to geopolitics, social implications and the relations between political leaders and citizens as beings embedded in various strategies of communication. The volume will appeal to scholars of international politics, political science, risk or crisis governance, economics and sociology, human rights and security, political communication and public health.
... To mitigate drought-related impacts in the area, a combination of water conservation and other effective measures, smart use of space-based data would serve as a precedent or guide to be considered in subsequent drought-related events management over the study area and other areas facing an increasing risk of extreme drought events (Verner et al., 2018). The results from the study show that the study area witnessed drought episodes where the study area observed extreme drought situations of less than 20% in most of the years especially in 2003, 2007 and 2012 (Figures 8.3 to 8.6). ...
Thesis
Despite the significance of drought as an important driver of ecological and evolutionary dynamics, we cannot overemphasise the current understanding of the environmental and ecosystem consequences of drought. Drought disaster is one of the key factors restricting vegetation development of several species in a wide variety of ecosystems. The goal of this study is to appraise drought disaster events using space-based information towards drought risk management for ecosystems and environmental conservation. The outcome of this study provides measures that will prevent and reduce disaster exposure and vulnerability to its occurrence, increase preparedness for response and thus strengthen disaster resilience in the Free State Province, South Africa. Drought disasters in Free State Province, South Africa were explored through various interdependent research segments. The first segment appraised the scientific community research on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Disaster Risk Management (DRM) to identify their evolutionary trajectory during the period of investigation. This study highlighted five of the various innovations that can be highly useful in DRR and DRM practice, these include Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing, disaster risk insurance, Social Networking Systems (SNS), and materials that are resilient to disasters. Such technologies are considered very successful, but they are not always easy to implement. The second segment of the study explored the rich tapestry of studies on drought disasters, drought vulnerability, drought severity and water shortage (DDVS_WS), taking into account the critical situation and circumstance posed by drought in line with the shortage in water supplies. Based on the top themes, findings revealed that drought and climate change are at the centre of issues related to drought and water shortage, this provides a hint on the relatedness of drought and climate change for further studies. Thirdly, spatio-environmental distribution of drought disaster events in the Free State Province was assessed based on Terra-MODIS Vegetation Index using R programming. Results revealed that the study area experienced drought disaster in years 2016, 2017 and 2018, however, it was more evident in January, February, October, November and December during the period. The southern regions of the study area witnessed more drought disaster conditions and its occurrence, where most of the areas witnessed below 20% drought index (severe to extreme drought conditions) especially in the affected months. In the fourth segment, satellite-based applications in drought disaster assessment using terra MOD13Q1 data across the study area were explored. The results revealed and identified the years that were water-stressed in the study area, which indicated low vegetation abundance and high temperature in the Free State Province occurred in 2000, 2008, and 2009. The result also showed that the summer season over large parts of the study region is characterised by moderate to extreme drought while winter seasons have light drought conditions during the same time. The fifth section assessed drought disaster by utilising space-based data and R programming for drought years in the study area. Results revealed that the study area witnessed drought events in the year 2003 where March, August, September, October, November and December were more affected by drought disaster events. It was further observed that February and March were affected by extreme drought conditions in the year 2007. In the year 2012, January, October, November and December, there exist moderate to severe drought conditions in the study area where some regions were more affected than others. In the sixth segment, remote sensing data and regional climate scenario Representative Concentration Pathways of the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) were used to assess the future climate scenario from 2006 to 2050 using python script. The result showed that the entire study area was severely affected by drought disasters in the years 2015, 2003, 2005 and 2018 with drought condition index ranges between 40 and 0%, across the area, where most of the water-reliant sectors might have been affected during the period based on MODIS data. In the seventh segment, navigation of nature’s complexities through Terra MODIS information and downscaled regional climate model was examined. The result showed that from -24.5 to -25.5 latitude, the area witnessed a decrease in precipitation (80 to 120mm) across the time slice and an increase in the latitude -26° to -28° S for summer seasons, which is more prominent in the year 2041 to 2050. Finally, drought disaster monitoring and Land use dynamics as well as the identification of drought drivers using regression-based algorithms were examined in the last segment. As demonstrated in this study, drought disasters in the Free State Province and its associated impacts on the natural resources call for action especially by the strategy initiators and policy-making bodies. Despite the fact that climate unpredictability may provide some benefits, the majority of the consequences will almost certainly be negative, particularly for low-income areas that rely on natural resources for survival. The frequency and scope of drought disasters, as well as their effects on society, appear to indicate that current coping and response mechanisms may be insufficient to mitigate such risk impacts, and may be tragically inadequate if long-term drought disaster adaptation and management are not available.
... Over the last decades, weather data showed an increasing warming trend at the surface of Earth, and climate models predict further warming and climatic changes throughout the rest of the century (Trenberth 2014;Talib and Randhir 2017). Climate change projections reveal a higher frequency of droughts, accompanied by warmer temperatures that will speed up evaporation from water and land surfaces (Wasimi 2010;Verner et al. 2018). These changes impact the various components of the hydrological cycle, as well as water supply and demand (Alavian 2009;Upadhyaya 2016;Steveninck et al. 2018). ...
Preprint
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Developing countries rely to a large extent on international donors to improve water security. Yet, international interventions often end up with low efficiency impacts because of the lack of a priori comprehensive projections. With this in mind, this paper presents a scenario-based methodology to forecast river water quantity and quality in a common multi-stressor situation, that is combined impact of climate change, population growth and wastewater discharge. As an illustrative case, El Kalb River basin, in Lebanon, was simulated under four scenarios up to year 2050, using Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) model. The observed trends indicate that mean annual streamflow and flow to groundwater could decrease by around 10 to 23% each due to climate change, while water demand is expected to increase by 16 to 32%. As to water quality, the maximum BOD of 68 mg/L (in 2019) can be decreased by introducing wastewater treatment (starting 2021 as planned by national authorities) to 44 mg/L, only to increase again to 63 mg/L in 2050 due to population growth. Considering climate change, water quality is expected to deteriorate further and the maximum BOD would reach 118 mg/L and 147 mg/L in 2050 under RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios, respectively. Even though the planned wastewater treatment facilities would reduce BOD by 34%, it was shown that the river would never meet water standards – under any of the proposed scenarios. The approach adopted in this paper is recommended for quantification of the efficiency of river protection plans in developing areas.
... Drought is a most complex and frequently occurring phenomenon at globe scale (Melillo et al., 2014;Huang et al., 2016). It is one of the least understood and unpredictable natural disasters (Verner et al., 2018;Masroor et al., 2020). Retardation of vegetation growth due to severe drought leads to soil degradation (Chaves et al., 2011). ...
Article
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Drought is a natural phenomenon posing severe implications for soil, groundwater and agricultural yield. It has been recognized as one of the most pervasive global change drivers to affect the soil. Soil being a weakly renewable resource takes a long time to form, but it takes no time to degrade. However, the response of soil to drought conditions as soil loss is not manifested in the existing literature. Thus, this study makes a concerted effort to analyze the relationship between drought conditions and soil erosion in the middle sub-basin of the Godavari River in India. MODIS remote sensing data was utilized for driving drought indices during 2000–2019. Firstly, we constricted Temperature condition index (TCI) and Vegetation Condition Index (VCI) from Land Surface Temperature (LST) and Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) derived from MODIS data. TCI and VCI were then integrated to determine the Vegetation Health Index (VHI). Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) was utilized for estimating soil loss. The relationship between drought condition and vegetation was ascertained using the Pearson correlation. Most of the northern and southern watersheds experienced severe drought condition in the sub-basin during 2000–2019. The mean frequency of the drought occurrence was 7.95 months. The average soil erosion in the sub-basin was estimated to be 9.88 t ha⁻¹ year ⁻¹. A positive relationship was observed between drought indices and soil erosion values (r value being 0.35). However, wide variations were observed in the distribution of spatial correlation. Among various factors, the slope length and steepness were found to be the main drivers of soil erosion in the sub-basin. Thus, the study calls for policy measures to lessen the impact of drought and soil erosion.
... MoE et al. (2011) indicated that projected rainfall is expected to decrease by 10 to 20% by 2040, and by 25 to 45% by the year 2090, compared to present values noting that both temperature and precipitation extremes will intensify. Verner et al. (2018) highlighted that since about 1970, Lebanon has experienced a mean temperature increase of about 0.3°C per decade. Figure 5-2 adopted from ICBA (2017) shows projected rainfall declines under different climate scenarios: the blue line represents the average for the historical records , the yellow line represents the average for the less-severe RCP4.5 scenario while the red line represents average for the more-severe RCP8.5 scenario. ...
Thesis
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This analysis aimed to simulate the long-term nationwide groundwater recharge situation taking into account the natural conditions. The adopted methodology is based on a hydrological balance rather than a groundwater balance. It mainly follows the GROWA model reported by Andjelov et al. (2016) particularly in terms of actual evapotranspiration estimation (through Renger-Wessolek method and the relevant corrections for relief and urbanization), estimation of total runoff through water balance calculations, calibration of the baseflow index values, and splitting of the total runoff into surface runoff and groundwater recharge. The outcome includes spatially distributed values of the considered water balance components (maps and raster data formats). This will provide both mapping possibilities and numerical data for practical use in developing water management solutions.
... Monitoring and assessing drought episodes in the study area will give an insightful direction on how drought disasters can be managed in order to protect the natural environment and conserve ecosystems in the affected area (He et al., 2017;Zhou et al., 2018). To mitigate drought-related impacts in the area, a combination of water conservation and other effective measures, smart use of space-based data would serve as a precedent or guide to be considered in subsequent drought-related events management over the study area and other areas facing an increasing risk of extreme drought events (Verner et al., 2018). The results from the study show that the study area witnessed drought episodes where the study area observed extreme drought situations of less than 20% in most of the years especially in 2003, 2007and 2012. ...
Article
Drought disaster is one of the major factors restricting the development of vegetation across a wide variety of environments. Monitoring the temporal and spatial dynamics of drought episodes in the study area is crucial for environmental and ecosystem conservation. This study assesses drought disaster by utilising space-based data and R programming for drought years 2003, 2007, 2012 and 2019 in the Free State Province, South Africa. Results revealed that the study area witnessed drought events in the year 2003 where March, August, September, October, November and December were more affected by drought disaster events. It was further observed that February and March were affected by extreme drought conditions in the year 2007. In year 2012, January, October, November and December, there exist moderate to severe drought conditions in the study area where some regions were more affected than the other. Finally, year 2019 witnessed variations in drought event distributions across the months with January, October and November witnessing severe to extreme drought conditions from about 0 to 30% drought values. Overall, this study shows that the 16-day Terra-MODIS composite and EVI products are sensitive to stressors associated with drought. The Vegetation Condition Monitoring Index (VCI) based on MODIS is suited for monitoring drought disasters. The technique used in this study revealed the suitability of MODIS data for assessing drought conditions and their potential environmental impacts.
Technical Report
Fragaszy, S.; Fraj, M. B.; McKee, M.; Jobbins, G.; Fayad, A.; Fakih, M.; Lawrenson, L.; McDonnell, R. 2022. MENAdrought synthesis of drought vulnerability in Lebanon: final report. Project report prepared by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) for the Bureau for the Middle East of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Washington, DC, USA: USAID; Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute (IWMI). 67p. doi: https://doi.org/10.5337/2022.205
Article
Since the Syrian war in 2011, Syrian refugees in Lebanon have continued to experience socioeconomic deprivation, resorting many families to child labour as a form of survival. Adopting a gender-sensitive analysis, this study explores the relationship between psychosocial adversities and musculoskeletal pain among male and female Syrian refugee children in Lebanon, using data from a cross-sectional survey of working Syrian refugee children between 8 and 18 years in informal tented settlements in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. The majority of working children (4090) worked in agriculture (75.8%). Of the children who experienced musculoskeletal pain, 27.4% worked despite severe pain, three-quarters of the children worked under time pressure, over a third (37.4%) were physically abused at work, and the majority (95.8%) had a good relationship with their co-workers. Logistic regression models revealed a significant association between exposure to psychosocial stressors at work and musculoskeletal pain among male and female children.
Article
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Drought monitoring is important for characterizing the timing, extent, and severity of drought for effective mitigation and water management. We present a novel satellite based drought severity index (DSI) for regional monitoring derived using time-variable terrestrial water storage changes from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE). The GRACE-DSI enables drought feature comparison across regions and periods; it is unaffected by uncertainties associated with soil water balance models and meteorological forcing data; it incorporates water storage changes from human impacts including groundwater withdrawals that modify land surface processes and impact water management. Here, we describe the underlying algorithm and evaluate the GRACE-DSI performance in the continental US during 2002-2014. We find that the GRACE-DSI captures documented regional drought events and shows favorable spatial and temporal agreement with the monthly Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) and the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM). The GRACE-DSI also correlates well with a satellite-based normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), indicating sensitivity to plant-available water supply changes affecting vegetation growth. Because the GRACE-DSI captures changes in total terrestrial water storage, however, it complements more traditional drought monitoring tools such as the PDSI by providing information about deeper water storage changes which affect soil moisture recharge and drought recovery. The GRACE-DSI shows potential for globally consistent and effective drought monitoring, particularly where sparse ground observations (especially precipitation) limit the use of traditional drought monitoring methods.
Article
A possible relationship between the phase of the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO) and the effect of the Southern Oscillation (SO) on the January-February climate in the Northern Hemisphere is examined. Findings suggest a preference for the tropical/Northern Hemisphere (TNH) circulation pattern in response to anomalies in the SO in east QBO phase years, and for the Pacific/North American (PNA) pattern in west QBO phase years. This extends previous findings relating the strength of the TNH pattern to tropical Pacific sea surface temperature during ENSO episodes. This differentiation has fairly clear-cut implications for the January-February United States surface temperature anomaly pattern when a low (high) SO episode is in progress. The TNH emphasizes warmth (cold) in the Great Lakes/western Midwest; whereas the PNA induces a generally higher amplitude pattern, emphasizing cold (warmth) in the Southeast and warmth (cold) in the western third of the country. The SO-climate relationships appear approximately linear for each of the two QBO phases. A hypothetical physical mechanism through which this process might operate is briefly mentioned.