Monday, December 06, 2021

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Dead Sea shrinking causes exposed for the first time

Dead Sea shrinking causes exposed for the first time

Berlin, Jul 29 (Prensa Latina) The dying of the Dead Sea (Israel) is related to the decreased water table, climate change and human overuse of water as a resource, a study confirmed for the first time.
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Researchers from an interdisciplinary team of several sections from the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences, together with colleagues from Hannover, Kiel and Padua, reported that fresh groundwater flowing downstream causes salts to dissolve in the soil, resulting in sinkholes. But it also leads to large-scale subsidence of the surrounding land surface.

The water level of the Dead Sea sinks about one meter per year, and the land sinks about 15 centimeters per year. Inflows from rainfall in the surrounding mountains and the Jordan River cause short-term rises in the lake level. However, water withdrawals from the tributaries for agriculture, pumping of saline water to extract potassium, and evaporation in the high heat turn the balance permanently negative.

The team used a wide range of instruments; from measurement methods based on the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) to radar satellites and on-site gauge and climate stations. The researchers showed that the solid earth moves up and down synchronously with fluctuations in the water surface and groundwater level with a time lag of about eight weeks. However, the trend is clearly in one direction: downward.

For agriculture, tourism and infrastructure in the region, land subsidence and water loss are very threatening. The measurements show for the first time how closely land, water and atmosphere are linked here.

pgh/Pll/oda / nmr

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