Category Archives: Climate

Sea of Galilee lowest in 97 years

Ynetnews has an article “How low can you go: Sea of Galilee lowest in 97 years.”

Visually, compare the water–levels at the Church of the Primacy, that is located on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, during non–drought and drought years.

Staircase on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee during non–drought year.  Note the water of the Sea of Galilee lapping at the foot of the Staircase.

Compare the same area in recent years:

The same area during a time of drought. Note the same Staircase and the distance to the shore of the Sea of Galilee (on the right side of the image)

A statement put out by the authority said that last May’s recording showed the lowest water level since May 1920, when official measurements of the Sea of Galilee were first recorded.

The Sea of Galilee’s dire condition was made worse in recent years, due to a rare, four-year sequence of droughts in the north, which have caused water pumping from the Sea of Galilee to almost completely stop.

According to the article, the water level of the Sea of Galilee now stands at -214 meters!  FWIW — in the day’s of Jesus (aka Second Temple Times) the level, based upon the level of harbors from this period, was two meters higher—at -212 meters.


Dome of the Rock Not Visible from the Mount of Olives

For a 44 second video from the Mount of Olives check this out—I cannot see the Dome of the Rock!

Recently Israel 21c has published the following NASA photo of the current massive sandstorm in the Middle East.

NASASandStorm-1168x657See below how a typical sand storm affects Israel.

In the lands the southeastern end of the Mediterranean Sea the period from early–May to mid–June is a transitional season from the wet winter months to the dry summer ones. At times the wind blows in from the desert (from the east), and not from the Mediterranean Sea (from the west—which is normal). At those times the humidity drops drastically and a fine dust that permeates everything fills the air. These dry dusty events are called a hamsin, a sirocco, or a sharav.

Jerusalem — Hamsin/Dust Storm — 10:30 AM 11 May 2007

Under these conditions the green grass rapidly turns brown and the wild flowers die.

“The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever.”

Isaiah 40:7–8 (NIV)

The positive effect of these winds is that the hot dry weather aids the ripening of the grains by “setting” them before the harvest. It is during this season that first the barley and then the wheat harvest take place.
The Zondervan Atlas of the Bible, pp. 30–31

Jerusalem — “Normal Conditions” — 10:30 AM 14 May 2007

All the camera settings and filters were the same.

A similar transition takes place in September/October, but this is from the dry summer months to the wet winter months.

For more free, high–resolution images of a hamsin click Click Here.

Drinking Water 8 Months Old?

In both ancient and modern times water was a precious commodity in the Middle East.  Villages and cities were built near springs where possible, but in other cases wells were dug AND, from about 1200 B.C. to the present day, plastered cisterns collected the precious rainwater during the winter months.

Ancient Cistern at Ashqelon

Cisterns are cavities that are hewn out of the rock, or soil, and are lined with plaster so as to be able to store water.  In the Middle East, the runoff from the winter rains filled them, and the stored water was used throughout the year.

In the cistern from Ashqelon, note the remnant of the small opening at the top, through which a container was lowered into the cistern to draw water.

Opening of a Cistern

Continue reading

Methuselah – The Palm Tree

View of “Methuselah” the Judean Date Palm tree on the grounds of Kibbutz Ketura in the Rift Valley of Israel—about 30 mi. [50 km.] north of Eilat.


“Methuselah” the Date Palm — sprouted from a 2,000 year old seed that was found in the excavations of Masada — Photo: March 2014 — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

Methuselah sprouted in 2005 from a 2,000 year old seed that was found in the excavations of Masada.  It was transplanted to the earth in 2008.  This picture was taken in March 2014 and it seems to be doing well.

To view an interesting 8 minute video on this Judean Palm Tree that was sprouted from a 2,000 year old date pit found by Yigal Yadin at Masada Click Here.

Yishai Fleisher interviews, on site, Dr. Elaine Solowey, who supervised the sprouting of the pit and the nurturing of the seedling back to life.  Up until “Methuselah” sprouted and grew, the Judean Palm Trees were extinct!  Good content and good pictures!

Modern Palm Trees growing at the oasis of En Gedi on the western shore of the Dead/Salt Sea

Thanks to Dr. John Monson for the “heads up!”

Avdat Waterfall with Water

This is the last post on “water in the wadis.”  On 10 January we were at En Avdat and the nature walk was closed but the upper viewing area was open.  The following photo was taken on that day — a day after the rain had stopped.  Be sure to see the video link from 2010 at the end of this post!


Upper “Waterfall” at En Avdat on 10 January 2013
Note the brush on the right side indicating that in the days before the water had been higher!


A Serious “Gusher” in January 2010

Click Here to view the video – that begins about 1:13.
HT: James Monson

More Wadis/Nahals After the Rains

On January 10 we visited Tel Sheva (biblical Beersheba).  Here are some contrasting views of the Nahal Beersheba after 4 days of rain.

Nahal Beersheba-1

Nahal Beersheba on 10 January 2013 after 4 Days of Rain


Nahal Beersheba Under “normal” Conditions


Nahal Sekher South of Beersheba on 10 January 2013

Valley of Elah after the Rains

Jerusalem in the snow has received a lot of press recently, but it is also “fun” to see the wadis/nahals fill up after a rain storm.  On Wednesday 9 January we visited the Valley of Elah, where David fought Goliath (1 Samuel 17), after 3 days of rain.

Elah Valley-1

Valley of Elah after Three Days of Rain — 9 January 2013


Valley of Elah under “normal” conditions – March

Weather in Israel and the “Health” of the Kinneret (Sea of Galiee)

All of us who have traveled in Israel and the surrounding countries are well-aware of the importance of the winter rains for the well-being of the inhabitants of the area, local agriculture, and the water supply in general.

If you wish to “keep up” on how the Sea/Lake of Galilee (the Kinneret) is doing a “fun” place to go is the Kinneret Bot where the water levels of the lake are reported frequently (especially when it has been raining).

Blog01In addition, the Israel Meteorological Service maintains a web page (available in Hebrew and English) where current conditions and weather forecasts are available.  In the winter I find myself looking at the home page, the three day forecast, and also at the “Rain Forecast Maps.”  I the summer I tend to look at the “Heat Stress” tab under “Observations” (what is the HS at the Kinneret?  Masada?@#!).

Blog02These two sources may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I have found them interesting and thought some of you might as well.