Feb 2, 2011

Hot and Dry

David DolanBy David Dolan

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Israel’s Meteorological Service recently confirmed what most Israelis already suspected — 2010 was the hottest year on record since annual temperatures began to be recorded in the late 1800s. Officials said daily temperatures were higher during every single month of last year, hovering almost two degrees above the average temperature during the previous hottest year, 1998.

They added that rainfall totals were way below average as well, leading to further shrinkage of the country’s main fresh water reservoir, the biblical Sea of Galilee situated just below the contested Golan Heights. Israel received less than half of its normal annual rainfall this past December and January, with the Sea of Galilee now nearing the point where officials say irreparable damage will be done to the large lake.

The dearth of water is also affecting the Sea of Galilee’s dwindling fish stock, forcing officials to ban most fishing for the foreseeable future. Government statistics show that the annual catch had gone down from over 2,000 tons of fish in 1999 to just 156 tons ten years later. Further water use restrictions are expected by next summer.

Related Links

Kinneret rises only 16 centimeters in January - The Jerusalem Post
It's official: 2010 was the hottest year on record in Israel - Haaretz
Israel wraps up hottest, driest year on record - Israel Today (Ryan Jones)
'Kinneret could become a fish-free lake' - The Jerusalem Post
Vote Dead Sea for the New7Wonders of nature - VoteDeadSea.com
Church unearthed in Israel may hold Zechariah tomb - France24