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The fate of the Dead Sea: total disappearance or a hypersaline lagoon
  • Ibrahim Oroud
Ibrahim Oroud
Mu'tah University Faculty of Engineering

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Abstract

An energy balance model run on a monthly time step for 800 years was developed to predict the future level and areal extent of the Dead Sea under different scenarios of freshwater input and boundary conditions. The model integrates energy, water and salt balances. The bathymetry of the Dead Sea was obtained from digital elevation data derived from a high-resolution contour map. Model results were verified against measured lake level for the period 1928 through 2022. Predicted levels are very close to observed values as demonstrated by three statistical measures. The monthly temperatures of the mixed layer as predicted by the model were also commensurate with observational results and atmospherically corrected surface temperatures retrieved from the thermal band onboard Landsat 8.  Simulation results show that the Dead Sea level will range from ~ 510 m below sea level (m bsl) when freshwater input is ⁓400 × 106 m3 a-1 to 585 m bsl when precipitation is the only freshwater source reaching the lake. The time span needed for the Dead Sea to reach a quasi-steady state equilibrium, that is when consecutive simulated annual cycles are identical- is several hundred years.