High-resolution temperature sensing in the Dead Sea using fiber optics Public Deposited


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  • The thermal stratification of the Dead Sea was observed in high spatial and temporal resolution by means of fiber-optics temperature sensing. The aim of the research was to employ the novel high-resolution profiler in studying the dynamics of the thermal structure of the Dead Sea and the related processes including the investigation of the metalimnion fluctuations. The 18 cm resolution profiling system was placed vertically through the water column supported by a buoy 450 m from shore, from 2 m above to 53 m below the water surface (just above the local seafloor), covering the entire seasonal upper layer (the metalimnion had an average depth of 20 m). Temperature profiles were recorded every 5 min. The May to July 2012 data set allowed quantitative investigation of the thermal morphology dynamics, including objective definitions of key locations within the metalimnion based on the temperature depth profile and its first and second depth derivatives. Analysis of the fluctuation of the defined metalimnion locations showed strong anticorrelation to measured sea level fluctuations. The slope of the sea level versus metalimnion depth was found to be related to the density ratio of the upper layer and the underlying main water body, according to the prediction of a two-layer model. The heat content of the entire water column was calculated by integrating the temperature profiles. The vertically integrated apparent heat content was seen to vary by 50% in a few hours. These fluctuations were not correlated to the atmospheric heat fluxes, nor to the momentum transfer, but were highly correlated to the metalimnion and the sea level fluctuations (r=0.84). The instantaneous apparent heat flux was 3 orders of magnitude larger than that delivered by radiation, with no direct correlation to the frequency of radiation and wind in the lake. This suggests that the source of the momentary heat flux is lateral advection due to internal waves (with no direct relation to the diurnal cycle). In practice, it is shown that snap-shot profiles of the Dead Sea as obtained with standard thermal profilers will not represent the seasonal typical status in terms of heat content of the upper layer.
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  • Arnon, A., N. G. Lensky, and J. S. Selker (2014), High-resolution temperature sensing in the Dead Sea using fiber optics, Water Resources Research, 50, 1756–1772. doi:10.1002/2013WR014935
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