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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).

Green Algae in Sea of Azov, Ukraine and Russia

46.0N 36.0E

October 2nd, 2012 Category: Lakes, Phytoplankton

Russia – October 2nd, 2012

Some greenish sediment and phytoplankton growth can be observed in the Sea of Azov. 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. 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. Abundant plankton results in unusually high fish productivity.

Sediments in Sea of Azov and Phytoplankton in Black Sea

45.1N 36.0E

July 1st, 2012 Category: Lakes, Phytoplankton, Sediments

Black Sea – June 26th, 2012

While the bright blue color of the Black Sea (below) is caused by an intense phytoplankton bloom that has been flourishing over the last few weeks (click here for previous images), the greenish tinge of the Sea of Azov (above) is due mostly to an influx of sediments from rivers such as the Don, which can be seen entering the sea by the upper right corner. Some of this greenish color is likely caused also by phytoplankton, as they tend to thrive on the nutrients from sediments and runoff.

Sea of Azov Lined with Golden Sediments, Black Sea Bright Blue from Phytoplankton – June 3rd, 2012

45.1N 36.2E

June 3rd, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Phytoplankton, Sediments

Black Sea - May 31st, 2012

While the Sea of Azov (above) is lined with golden sediments that gradually fade to green and then disappear into the deep, dark blue waters towards the sea’s center, the Black Sea glows an intense, light, milky blue. This coloring is due to a phytoplankton bloom in the sea. The swirls are due to currents, while the differences in color are usually due to different species of phytoplankton. Over the years, scientists have observed over 150 different types of phytoplankton in the Black Sea (click here for more images of phytoplankton blooms in the Black Sea).

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.

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