Physical Oceanography, Vol.
THERMOHYDRODYNAMICS OF THE OCEAN
MODEL OF THE DEAD SEA. SIMULATION OF THE VARIABILITY
OF THE THERMOHALINE WATER STRUCTURE IN 1992–2000
V. A. Ivanov,
S. P. Lyubartseva,
É. N. Mikhailova,
N. B. Shapiro,
and I. Gertman
Within the framework of the integral model in isopycnic coordinates including the upper mixed
layer, we study the rearrangement of temperature and salinity fields in the Dead Sea. It is forced
by the variability of atmospheric factors and mass fluxes through the lateral boundaries of the ba-
sin, which are connected with the freshwater run-off to the sea and the outflow from the sea to
the shallow south bay, where evaporator installations for salt extraction are located. Such factors
as solar radiation, wind velocity, air temperature, and relative humidity are prescribed. Evapora-
tion is calculated with the use of a bulk formula, whereas precipitation intensity and discharge
through the lateral boundaries are determined as functions of the sea level obtained from obser-
vations. This model reflects the specific character of the Dead Sea and takes into account the ef-
fect of water salinity on its evaporation, salt concretion, and “mechanical” evaporation. Compar-
ison with the data of observations shows that the proposed model fairly precisely describes the
observed specific features of the thermohaline water structure in the meromictic (1992–1996)
and holomictic (1996–2000) periods.
The Dead Sea is a large and deep salty closed lake, which is located in a rift zone with very dry climate .
This zone of length ∼
km and width 10
km stretches from the Red Sea northward through the Gulf of
Aqaba, the Dead Sea, the Jordan's valley, and Lake Kinneret up to the mountain ridge of Hermon. The Dead Sea
consists of two depressions: north (its depth is more than 300
m) and south (its dimensions are much less, and the
depth is only several meters). They are divided by a peninsula, which juts out into the lake from the side of its
east coast, leaving only the narrow Lisan Strait along the west coast. By now, the level of the Dead Sea has so
fallen (by about 400
m below the ocean level) that the bottom at the shallow part of the strait has practically
cropped out. The south depression remains dry for the most part of the year (except areas assigned for evaporat-
ing basins, to which water is fed through a dam).
During centuries, fresh water coming to the near-surface layer of the lake mixed with much saltier lake wa-
ter only insignificantly, forming layers with low salinity, which appeared to swim over the dense thickness of
connate waters. However, beginning from the 60s, when an ever-increasing amount of fresh water was taken for
irrigation, the salinity and density of near-surface waters became higher and higher. In December, 1979, the
Marine Hydrophysical Institute, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Sevastopol.
Israel Institute of Oceanology and Limnology.
Translated from Morskoi Gidrofizicheskii Zhurnal, No.
24, September–October, 2002. Original article submitted April 11,
2001; revision submitted April 19, 2001.
0928-5105/02/1205–0237 $27.00 © 2002 Plenum Publishing Corporation 237