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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.

 

Sediments and Phytoplankton in Caspian and Black Seas

44.4N 48.4E

July 26th, 2012 Category: Rivers

Caspian Sea- July 25th, 2012

The bright colors in the northern part of the Caspian Sea are due partly to sediments from rivers such as the Volga, easily recognizable by its large, green delta, and the Ural, to the east of the former. They are also due in part to phytoplankton growth, which is likely encourages by the influx of nutrients from the two rivers. Upon opening the full image, the Black Sea  can be observed to the west. The phytoplankton bloom that has been flourishing there over the last month (click here for previous images) has now almost completely waned.

Sediments and Phytoplankton in Northern Caspian Sea

46.1N 49.8E

July 18th, 2012 Category: Phytoplankton, Rivers, Sediments

Caspian Sea- July 18th, 2012

Sediments and phytoplankton growth in the Caspian Sea give its waters bright green and blue tones. Sediments are most concentrated by the northeastern shores and the northwestern shores, by the Volga Delta. While the Volga can be seen entering the sea from the left edge, the Ural River can be seen flowing down from the top edge.

Volga and Ural Rivers Draining Into Caspian Sea

47.0N 49.3E

June 18th, 2012 Category: Lakes, Rivers, Sediments

Caspian Sea - May 19th, 2012

The Volga River zig-zags across the Russian landscape and flows through several large reservoirs on its way south to the Caspian Sea. It is the largest river in Europe in terms of length, discharge, and watershed. Upon reaching the Caspian Depression, it drains into the Caspian Sea through the Volga Delta, the largest river delta in Europe. Visible to the east of the Volga is another river, the Ural, which flows through Russia and Kazakhstan and is the third longest river in Europe. It also drains into the Caspian Sea. Here, the northern part of the sea is an opaque tan and blue due to the influx of sediments and phytoplankton growth.

Caspian Sea: the World’s Largest Inland Body of Water – June 9th, 2010

42.0N 50.0E

June 9th, 2010 Category: Lakes

Caspian Sea - June 1st, 2010

Caspian Sea - June 1st, 2010

The Caspian Sea is an inland salt lake between Europe and Asia, bordering Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Iran. Though it receives many rivers, including the Volga, Ural, and Kura, the sea itself has no outlet.

With a basin 750 mi (1,200 km) long and up to 200 mi (320 km) wide and an area of 149,200 sq mi (386,400 sq km), it is the largest inland body of water in the world.

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