Effects of water level decline in Lake Urmia, Iran, on local climate conditions

Amir Hossein Dehghanipour, Davood Moshir Panahi, Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Kalantari, Massoud Tajrishy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Lake Urmia in northwestern Iran is the largest lake in Iran and the second largest saltwater lake in the world. The water level in Lake Urmia has decreased dramatically in recent years, due to drought, climate change, and the overuse of water resources for irrigation. This shrinking of the lake may affect local climate conditions, assuming that the lake itself affects the local climate. In this study, we quantified the lake's impact on the local climate by analyzing hourly time series of data on climate variables (temperature, vapor pressure, relative humidity, evaporation, and dewpoint temperature for all seasons, and local lake/land breezes in summer) for the period 1961-2016. For this, we compared high quality, long-term climate data obtained from Urmia and Saqez meteorological stations, located 30 km and 185 km from the lake center, respectively. We then investigated the effect of lake level decrease on the climate variables by dividing the data into periods 1961-1995 (normal lake level) and 1996-2016 (low lake level). The results showed that at Urmia station (close to the lake), climate parameters displayed fewer fluctuations and were evidently affected by Lake Urmia compared with those at Saqez station. The effects of the lake on the local climate increased with increasing temperature, with the most significant impact in summer and the least in winter. The results also indicated that, despite decreasing lake level, local climate conditions are still influenced by Lake Urmia, but to a lesser extent.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2153
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Lake Urmia
  • Lake/land breeze
  • Local climate
  • Temperature adjustment


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