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This chapter surveys the characteristics of the present-day climate of the Levant and places it in the context of the broader regional and global setting. We focus on the near surface climate to lay the foundation for understanding and constraining the plausible regional climatic changes that have occurred throughout the Quaternary as the Levant responded to changes in the global climate. We describe the relation of the Levant to the seasonal, large-scale Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation, which frame the conditions for the region’s seasonal climate characteristics. This is followed by a review of the plethora of circulation systems that determine the characteristic variations of weather, particularly rainfall, in the winter and the transition seasons – fall and spring. We explain the reasons for the region’s dry summers. Short-term variations in the seasonal climate are reviewed. Attention is given to the impacts of climate on the regions hydrology and the spread of aeolian dust.
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