Earth Snapshot RSS Feed Twitter

Posts tagged Azerbaijan

Borders Feature Revealing Lakes Near Turkey

40.3N 45.3E

February 10th, 2013 Category: Clouds, Lakes

Iran, Turkey, Armenia – January 27th, 2013

This cloud-covered image highlights the use of the Chelys Satellite Rapid Response System (SRRS) “borders” feature, which overlays countries’ boundaries on satellite images. Here, Iran, Turkey, Georgia, Russia and Azerbaijan can be observed counterclockwise from the bottom right, with Armenia in the center. While Lake Van, in Turkey, is partially visible through the clouds, the borders feature shows the location of other lakes that would be hidden: Lake Urmia (bottom), in Iran, Lake Sevan (center), in Armenia, and the Mingachevir Reservoir (upper right), in Azerbaijan.

Environmental Issues Facing Absheron Peninsula, Azerbaijan

40.4N 49.8E

February 8th, 2013 Category: Climate Change

Caspian Sea – January 24th, 2013

The Absheron Peninsula is a peninsula in Azerbaijan that extends 37 miles (60 km) eastward into the Caspian Sea, and reaches a maximum width of 19 miles (30 km). Though technically the easternmost extension of the Caucasus Mountains, the landscape is only mildly hilly, a gently undulating plain that ends in a long spit of sand dunes known as Shah Dili, and now declared the Absheron National Park. In this part the peninsula is dissected by ravines and characterized by frequent salt lakes.

The peninsula is also host to Baku, the biggest and the most populous city of the country, and also the Baku metropolitan area, with its satellite cities Sumgayit and Khyrdalan. As approx. 40% of the country’s population and 70% of the industrial potential of the country is concentrated in the Absheron peninsula, most of the ecological problems in urgent need of solution exist in this area.

One of the primary problems of the Absheron peninsula is related to the contamination of land, mainly with oil and layer waters during oil-gas extraction and drilling works, formation of artificial lakes and pons due to failure to control layer waters, and accumulation of wastes in these territories formed during oil refining process.

Another ecological problem is connected with the situation of sewage systems, with much being discharged into the Sea and internal water basins without being purified. Along with the waste waters oil products, suspension substances, sulphate compounds, chloride salts, superficially active substances, fenol and different other heavy metals are also discharged into water basins (click here for more information).

Iran Proposes Diverting Water from Araz River to Combat Shrinking of Lake Urmia

37.6N 45.4E

December 4th, 2012 Category: Lakes

Iran – December 2nd, 2012

Lake Urmia, at the northwestern tip of Iran, is one of the largest permanent hypersaline lakes in the world and the largest lake in the Middle East. It extends as much as 140 km from north to south and is as wide as 85 km east to west during high water level periods.

Lake Urmia has been shrinking, as can be seen from the salt flats ringing it. According to official figures, some 70 per cent of Lake Urmia spanning 6,000 square kilometers is shallow. Currently, a liter of lake water contains up to 400 grams of salt. Previously, the amount of salt per liter of water was 160-170 grams. The drying of the lake has an impact on the flora and fauna of the region, which alarms international organizations and regional countries.

Due to this issue, Iran has sent a proposal to Azerbaijan to transfer water from the Araz River in order to help save the drying lake. The project would consist of directing 600 million cubic meters of water from the Araz River into Lake Urmia. Although the two nations have recently discussed the issue, they have not yet reached an agreement.

Azerbaijan itself suffers from a lack of water, and the chairman of the State Committee of Land and Cartography has said the use of the waters of the Araz River to fill the shrinking Lake Urmia in Iran will have a negative impact on the environment of Azerbaijan.

Water Level Changes in Caspian Sea

42.0N 50.0E

August 14th, 2012 Category: Lakes

Caspian Sea – August 13th, 2012

The Caspian Sea is a landlocked sea between Asia and Europe. It is the world’s largest inland body of water, with a surface area of 371,000 km² (143,000 sq. mi.), and therefore has characteristics common to both seas and lakes.

The Caspian Sea is bordered by Russia (Dagestan, Kalmykia, Astrakhan Oblast), Republic of Azerbaijan, Iran (Guilan, Mazandaran and Golestan provinces), Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan, with the central Asian steppes to the north and east. On its eastern Turkmen shore is a large embayment, the Kara Bogaz Gol (or Karabogas Bay), which here appears lighter blue in color by the right edge of the image.

The Volga River (about 80% of the inflow, visible in the upper left corner) and the Ural River (east of the former) discharge into the Caspian Sea, but it is endorheic, i.e. there is no natural outflow (other than by evaporation). Thus the Caspian ecosystem is a closed basin, with its own sea level history that is independent of the eustatic level of the world’s oceans. The level of the Caspian has fallen and risen, often rapidly, many times over the centuries.

Over the centuries, Caspian Sea levels have changed in synchronicity with the estimated discharge of the Volga, which in turn depends on rainfall levels in its vast catchment basin. Precipitation is related to variations in the amount of North Atlantic depressions that reach the interior, and they in turn are affected by cycles of the North Atlantic Oscillation. Thus levels in the Caspian sea relate to atmospheric conditions in the North Atlantic thousands of miles to the north and west. These factors make the Caspian Sea a valuable place to study the causes and effects of global climate change.


Dust Over Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Caspian Sea

40.3N 45.3E

June 3rd, 2012 Category: Dust Storms, Lakes

Caspian Sea - May 31st, 2012

A plume of dust blows over the Caspian Sea and curves around the Georgia-Azerbaijan-Armenia border. Hovering over the sea and the border area between those countries, the dust veils part of the Caspian Sea but does not cover other large lakes such as the Mingacevir Reservoir, in Azerbaijan, and Lake Sevan, in Armenia. Visible to the north of the dust plume are sediments from the Volga River.