Due to its widespread political and social consequences, the relationship between drought and climate change in the Middle East has been widely reported on by the media. Climate change is mainly understood within the paradigm: “prolonged drought is created and intensified by global warming.” The purpose of the study is to review this paradigm and examine aspects of it. Thus, climate trends in the Middle East are studied across three periods: 1900–1970, 1970–2000, and 2000–2017. Due to the importance of studying sequences of drought occurrence based on timescales of climatic patterns, the climatic trends of the Khuzestan Plain, were examined too. The results show that to have a clear understanding of both the modality of climate change in the Middle East and the current dominant paradigm, predominant assumptions of the paradigm should be reconsidered. For example, prolonged droughts are part of the natural pattern of climate in the Middle East, although the current drought has not been recorded for at least 100 years. This claim is based on the fact that prolonged droughts in this region can have natural causes, which can be studied as long-term climate trends, although the impact of global warming on the escalation of the Middle Eastern drought is undeniable. However, the exacerbating effect of non-anthropogenic factors on the impact of drought in the region should be studied, too. Additionally, as an epistemological assumption, the term “drying up” (as a new normal and permanent climatic pattern) should be used instead of “drought” (as a normal and reversible pattern) to determine the current climate change situation in the Middle East. The author concludes that the findings emphasize the need for further research in order to identify the modality of climate change in the Middle East.

In: The Journal of Interrupted Studies