Ashbel, Dov

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ASHBEL, DOV (1895–1989), Israel meteorologist. Ashbel was born in Jerusalem. After serving in the Turkish Army in World War i he was a schoolteacher for some years before going to study at Berlin University. To study the basics of the Ereẓ Israel climate and particularly of the rains at the sources supplying water to the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee, and the Dead Sea, Ashbel set up a network of gauging stations which soon covered the whole country up to the Negev. In 1928, Ashbel compiled a new rain map and in 1940, a rain map of the Near East. In 1930, Ashbel joined the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and founded a department, which studied the various basic elements of climate in different parts of the country. He devoted most of his attention to solar radiation in general, and to the division of the spectrum.

One of the agricultural conclusions was the locating of sites where there was no fear of frost and freezing, for growing bananas and citrus. Hitherto, it had been considered that the Jordan Valley was the most suitable place for bananas, and the coastal plain was best suited to citrus groves. In 1950, Ashbel presented a proposal to plant these crops on the Carmel plain around Athlit, and on the plain at the foot of the hills of Western Galilee, around Nahariyyah. Thenceforward, these two areas were filled with plantations of these crops, which have proved to be among the most successful in Israel. At Ashbel's suggestion, a successful experiment was made to plant citrus crops in the western Negev. He was departmental editor of the Encyclopaedia Judaica for Jews in meteorology. His works include Bio-Climatic Atlas of Israel and Neighbour Countries (1951), Regional Climatology of Israel (1951), Solar Radiation and Sunshine in Jerusalem (1961), Soil Temperature (1965), Climate of Israel (1964–67), Climate of the Near East (1967, 1968), and Snow and Rain in the Near East, Maps and Tables of Rainfall on both Banks of the Jordan (1967).