Salinity of different water bodies vary based on myriad of factors. Globally, the most saline location is found on the water surfaces and shores of the Dead Sea. Interestingly, it is the deepest hyper-saline lake in the entire world with a depth of about 1,237 feet (Katz & Starinsky, 2009). It borders West Bank as well as Israel to the west and Jordan to the east. Most importantly, animals and plants can hardly survive and flourish in this saline sea due to harsh environment created by high percentage of salt. Being an endorheic lake, Dead Sea is located right in the Jordan Rift Valley with its only water source being the Jordan River. It has no outlet. However, it is imperative to note that around the Dead Sea, there are numerous perennial springs that create quicksand pits and pools. This area records scarce rainfall every year of about 4 inches in the northern part while in the south, it barely reaches 2 inches.
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On the other hand, an area with the lowest salinity is the Arctic Ocean region. Its location is in the arctic North Polar Region in northern hemisphere. When considering the five major divisions of oceans, Arctic Ocean is the shallowest and smallest (Lique et al., 2011).
It is engulfed by North America and Eurasia. Due to the freezing and melting of its ice cover, it experiences variation of salinity and temperature. In fact, compared to other water bodies, it has the lowest level of salinity. Reports from the international Hydrographic Organization (IHO) points out that this is due to quite a number of factors that include limited outflow and connections from high saline waters from lakes that surrounds it, inflow from heavy freshwater streams and rivers as well as low evaporation. The top layer of the Arctic Ocean is relatively stable and has lower temperature and salinity (Lique et al., 2011). Its stability is attributed to the effect of temperature density which is lesser than its salinity effect. It obtains its fresh water from Canadian springs such as Mac-Kenzie, Lena, Yenissey and Ob as well as from Siberian springs.
Reasons for fluctuations
The level of variation of salt in salt water bodies is controlled by diverse factors such as differences in geographical location, seasons and climate as daily changes in weather and sea currents (Jacobs & Giulivi, 2010). The reason for fluctuation between the two mentioned locations is that Dead Sea has a different mineral content from that of the Arctic Ocean. The composition of its water varies with temperature, depth, and season. As such, the ionic species concentration on it surface (in g/kg) is high above 35.2 in Mg2+, 6.2 K+ among others adding up to over 276 g/kg of salt content (Katz & Starinsky, 2009).
This indicates that the fluctuations in salinity in the Dead Sea that measure up to 31.5% are as a result of the density of concentration of salt species on its surface. On the other hand, the pattern of fluctuation in temperature and salinity in the Arctic Ocean is complex (Lique et al., 2011). The flow of fresh water into the Arctic Ocean makes the surface water less saline, but the deeper ocean water becomes saltier and denser. Arctic Ocean has a halocline that lies between the bulk of the ocean and the lower salinity area. Here, an increase in depth causes rise in temperature and salinity hence fluctuations (Lique et al., 2011).
Jacobs, S. & Giulivi, C.. (2010). Large Multidecadal Salinity Trends near the Pacific- Antarctic Continental Margin. Journal of Climate, 23(17), 4508-4511. Web.
Katz, A. & Starinsky, A. (2009). Geochemical History of the Dead Sea. Aquatic Geochemistry, 15(1-2), 159-194. Web.
Lique, C., et al. (2011). Evolution of the Arctic Ocean Salinity, 2007-08: Contrast between the Canadian and the Eurasian Basins. Journal of Climate, 24(6), 1705- 1717. Web.