The Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba: A natural driven cavity?

Hezi Gildor*, Erick Fredj, Alex Kostinski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Motivated by our puzzling high-resolution radar observations of surface vortices in the nearly rectangular Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba, northern Red Sea, we propose and explore the driven cavity approach to this geophysical phenomenon. While the lid-driven cavity has long been considered a benchmark problem in computational fluid dynamics, its oceanographic context has not been considered. Despite the additional effects of rotation and stratification, our modeling demonstrates that when the fluid within a cavity geometrically similar to the Gulf of Eilat is driven by the external current, an interior vortex can develop as in our observations. Furthermore, the Eilat vortices appear only under relatively calm conditions, adding evidence to the intriguing possibility of their simple shear-driven origin.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)301-308
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by The Israel Science Foundation (grant No. 1344/09) and by NATO SfP982220. H. Gildor is the Incumbent of the Rowland and Sylvia Schaefer Career Development Chair and is supported by a research grant from the Estate of Sanford Kaplan. The Port in Eilat gave us permission to install one of the sites in its area. Airspan provides us the wireless communication between the radar sites. We thank the management and the staff of the Inter-University Institute for Marine Sciences of Eilat (IUI) for their cooperation and help. A. Kostinski’s work was supported by the NSF grant ATM05-5467 and by the Varron visiting professorship at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. He is grateful to the Department of Environmental Sciences of the Weizmann Institute for their hospitality and support.


  • Cavity flow
  • Coherent eddy
  • Gulf of Eilat
  • HF radar


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