Decadal biogeochemical history of the south east Levantine basin: Simulations of the river Nile regimes

Yair Suari, Steve Brenner

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8 Scopus citations


The south eastern Mediterranean is characterized by antiestuarine circulation which leads to extreme oligotrophic conditions. The Nile river that used to transport fresh water and nutrients into the basin was dammed in 1964 which led to a drastic reduction of fresh water fluxes, and later, changes in Egyptian agriculture and diet led to increased nutrient fluxes. In this paper we present the results of simulations with a biogeochemical model of the south eastern Mediterranean. Four experiments were conducted: (1) present day without riverine inputs; (2) Nile before damming (pre-1964); (3) post-damming 1995 Nile; and (4) fresh water and nutrient discharges of Israeli coastal streams. The present day input simulation (control run) successfully reproduced measured nutrient concentrations, with the exception of simulated chlorophyll concentrations which were slightly higher than observed. The pre-1964 Nile simulation showed a salinity reduction of 2. psu near the Egyptian coast and 0.5. psu along the Israeli coast, as well as elevated chlorophyll a concentrations mostly east of the Nile delta and north to Cyprus. The spring bloom extended from its present peak during February-March to a peak during February-May. The 1995 Nile simulation showed increased chlorophyll a concentrations close to the Egyptian coast. The Israeli coastal stream simulation showed that the effect of the Israeli coastal stream winter flow on chlorophyll converged to control concentrations within about one month, demonstrating the stability and sensitivity of the model to external forcing. The results of this study demonstrate the significance of fresh water fluxes in maintaining marine productivity, which may have large scale effects on the marine ecosystem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-121
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Marine Systems
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2015

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© 2015 Elsevier B.V.


  • Biogeochemical model
  • Levantine basin
  • Nile river


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