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Caucasus Mountains to Crimean Peninsula: a Look at the Land North of the Black Sea

45.3N 36.6E

August 20th, 2010 Category: Rivers

Black Sea - July 17th, 2010

The peaks of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range are white with snow, while their lower slopes appear dark green. Following the range to its western extreme, the Black Sea can be observed.

By continuing along the sea’s coastline in a westwardly direction, one comes to the Strait of Kerch, which connects the Black Sea  (below) and the Sea of Azov (above), separating the Kerch Peninsula (left) from the Taman Peninsula (right).

Some green sediments can be seen in the Sea of Azov, many of which come from the Don River. The rivermouth can be observed at the northeastern extremity of the sea,  an area known as Taganrog Bay.

On the west side of the Strait of Kerch lies the Crimean Peninsula. It is connected to mainland Ukraine by the Isthmus of Perekop. Several green and tan bodies of water can be seen across the isthmus in the full image; these are the salty, marshy inlets of the Sivash Sea.

The Sea of Azov and the Crimean Peninsula – April 13th, 2009

April 13th, 2009 Category: Image of the day

Sea of Azov and Crimea - April 5th, 2009

Sea of Azov and Crimea - April 5th, 2009

The Sea of Azov is the world’s shallowest sea, linked by the Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea to the south. It is bounded on the north by Ukraine, on the east by Russia and on the west by the Crimean peninsula.

The sea is 340 kilometres (210 mi) long and 135 kilometres (84 mi) wide and has an area of 37,555 square kilometres (14,500 sq mi).

The main rivers flowing into it are the Don and Kuban; they ensure that the waters of the sea have comparatively low salinity and are almost fresh in places, and also bring in huge volumes of silt. Here, such silt appears greenish yellow and is particularly intense along the northern shores.

To the west also lie the 110 kilometres (68 mi) long Arabat Spit and the highly saline marshy inlets of the Sivash Sea on the border of the Crimean Peninsula.

The Sea of Azov is the shallowest sea in the world with an average depth of 13 metres (43 ft) and maximum depth of 15.3 metres (50 ft); where silt has built up, such as the Gulf of Taganrog, the average depth is less than 1 metre (3 ft).

Climate Change in the Azov Sea Basin, Russia and Ukraine

46.0N 36.0E

May 8th, 2013 Category: Climate Change

Russia and Ukraine – May 8th, 2013

The Sea of Azov (bottom right quadrant) is a sea in the south of Eastern Europe. It is bounded to the north by mainland Ukraine, to the east by Russia, and to the west by the Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. The Don and Kuban are the major rivers that flow into it. The Sea of Azov is the shallowest sea in the world with the depth varying between 0.9 metres (2 ft 11 in) and 14 metres (46 ft).

The sea is largely affected by the inflow of numerous rivers, which bring sand, silt, and shells, forming numerous bays, limans, and narrow sandbanks called spits. Because of these deposits, the sea bottom is relatively smooth and flat with the depth gradually increasing toward the sea centre. Also, due to the river inflow, water in the sea has low salinity and high content of biological matter, such as green algae that affects the water colour.

The provinces of Russia and Ukraine located within the Azov sea basin are important producers of grains, sugar, sunflower, meat, and milk. Because of heavy dependence of regional economics on agriculture, and major effects of regional agriculture on food security of the entire countries, climate change impacts on food production and water resources constitute major threats to the food security of both Russia and Ukraine. Historically, major droughts frequently affected the agriculture of the region.

At first glance, recent climate change seems beneficial for agriculture of the region: warmer temperatures extend growing season and elevate the accumulated heat. However, further warming is not likely to be matched by higher precipitation, with negative impacts from the increasing aridity of climate. The most effective adaptation option, expansion of irrigation, is limited with high pressure on water resources, which is already high in many parts of the region (click here for more information).

Phytoplankton Bloom Strongest in Southern Part of Black Sea

43.7N 31.1E

July 9th, 2012 Category: Phytoplankton

Black Sea – July 7th, 2012

The phytoplankton bloom that has been giving bright blue shades to the waters of the Black Sea over the last month (click here for previous images), appears to be diminishing slightly in intensity, although it is still spread throughout most of the large body of water. Here, the bloom is most concentrated in the southern part of the sea, while the section due west of the Crimean Peninsula shows little activity.

Kakhovka Reservoir Near Sea of Azov and Black Sea

47.5N 34.9E

May 4th, 2012 Category: Lakes, Rivers

Black Sea - April 28th, 2012

This thumbnail image focuses on the Sea of Azov and northern portion of the Black Sea, although the latter is visible in its entirety in the full image. The Sea of Azov is linked by the narrow (about 4 km) Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea to the south and is bounded in the north by mainland Ukraine, in the east by Russia, and in the west by the Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

The Don and Kuban are the major rivers that flow into it. Visible to the northwest of the sea, in the upper left quadrant, is the Dnieper River. The large lake visible along the river is the Kakhovka Reservoir, covering a total surface area of 2,155 square kilometres in the territories of the Kherson, Zaporizhia, and the Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts of Ukraine.