The latest in the climate history of the Dead Sea according to scientists

The level of the Dead Sea lake is now falling by more than a meter per year, mainly due to intensive water use in the catchment area.

However, extreme lake level declines caused by climate change have been documented in the past.

For example, towards the end of the last ice age, sea levels plunged more than 250 meters in a few millennia.

The Shrinking Dead Sea

(Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images)


A new study recently published in the journal Scientific Reports sheds new light on the precise course of this process.

Daniela Müller and Achim Brauer of the German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam, along with collaborators from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, used newly developed tools to study 15,000-year-old sediments from the Dead Sea and surrounding areas, according to ScienceDaily.

They revealed, with extraordinary precision, that the long dry spell was punctuated by rainfall intervals ranging from 10 to 100 years.

It also provided new information on the history of colonization of such a region, which is important for human development and allows better assessments of present and future trends caused by climate change.

Understanding how the water cycle alters in response to climate change is essential in particularly sensitive regions, such as the Eastern Mediterranean, where water availability is a key determinant of socio-economic and political growth. .

Geologists can do this by analyzing significant hydroclimatic changes that occurred millennia ago.

For example, during the transition from the last ice age to the Holocene, the water level of Lake Lisan decreased by about 240 meters between 24 and 11,000 years ago, which eventually led to its transformation into the sea. Current death.

Scientists determined that the long-term sharp reduction in lake levels caused by increasing drought was repeatedly interrupted by wetter periods when global warming paused.

“We were able to correctly establish the duration of these phases over several decades and, in one case, up to centuries by measuring the annual layers in the sediments,” explained Müller.

The precise cause of the recurring pauses in climate change in this region remains unknown.

It is assumed that there are links with the climate of the North Atlantic.

Read also : Meteorite minerals found on the shores of the Dead Sea

Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is the smallest body of water on the Earth’s surface and has the lowest elevation.

For several decades in the mid-20th century, the typical number provided for the surface level of the lake was about 1,300 feet (400 meters) below sea level.

However, beginning in the 1960s, Israel and Jordan began to redirect most of the Jordan’s flow and increase the commercial use of water from the lake.

As a result of these actions, the water level of the Dead Sea dropped precipitously.

In the mid-2010s, lake level measurements were more than 100 feet (30 meters) lower than those in the mid-20th century.

The Dead Sea lies between the Judean Highlands to the west and the Transjordan Highlands to the east.

Before the water level began to drop, the lake was about 80 kilometers long, 18 kilometers wide, and had a contact area of ​​about 1,020 square kilometers.

The Al-Lisn Peninsula (Arabic for “The Tongue”) divides the lake on its eastern side into two unequal basins: the northern basin covered about three-quarters of the lake’s total surface and reached a depth of 1,300 feet (400 meters), while the southern basin was much smaller and much shallower, measuring less than 10 feet (3 meters) on average.

Related article: The Dead Sea is drying up and shrinking at an alarming rate

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