The northern head of the Gulf of Eilat is an ecologically unique marine system of utmost environmental and economic importance. The unique setting of desert converging with coral reefs has brought about accelerated development of the tourist industry. At the same time, the marine ecological system has undergone a gradual decline. The reasons behind the decline observed in the marine habitats of Eilat are not fully understood, but may include waste and disturbance of the ecosystem by the Eilat sea port, tourism, marine aquaculture, and urbanization of Eilat.
A cooperative Israeli-Jordanian effort through the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences at Eilat (IUI) determined that a permanent, accessible database of meteorological measurements would facilitate the formation of scientific recommendations to preserve the delicate marine ecosystem of the gulf.
IUI contracted with Meteo-Tech to integrate and install a system to measure the meteorological conditions needed for the database. The program required continuous measurements, both at a coastal station and an openwater station, of air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, and water temperature. The coastal station also measures barometric pressure, solar radiation, and sea level.
The coastal station is situated on the IUI pier, about 30 m off shore. At the core is a Campbell Scientific CR1000 Measurement and Control Datalogger. The station started operating on September 2006, and twice a year Meteo-Tech performs preventive maintenance, including accuracy checks, cleaning, and bearing replacement.
The open-water station is situated on a floating buoy about 1 km off shore. It is based on a Campbell CR800 Measurement and Control Datalogger. The station started operating on July 2008. Unfortunately, a commercial ship collided with the buoy and heavily damaged it. The station was insured, so a rebuilding of the station is expected soon. Over time, the database will grow into a valuable resource for climatological analysis in the region.