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Posts tagged Volga River

Environmental Issues for Volga River, Russia – June 16th, 2013

46.0N 49.2E

June 16th, 2013 Category: Image of the day, Rivers MODISAqua

Russia – June 16th, 2013

Draining most of western Russian, the Volga is the largest river in Europe. From its source in the Valdai Hills north east of Moscow the river flows east and south east to the Caspian Sea. This thumbnail images focuses on its delta at the shores of the Caspian Sea, while a larger portion of the river’s meanderings can be seen to the north upon opening the full image.

A large number of tributaries make up the Volga river system the delta where the river enters the Caspian is composed of hundreds of channels and lies 28 m below sea level. For three months of the year the river is frozen for most of its length, the presence of a large number of dams has improved navigation but has reduced the river’s flow.

Consequently the river is suffering from pollution compounded by the fact that it flows through some of the most populated area of the country and includes an important agricultural area. Half of all river freight in Russia uses the Volga, which is connected to the Black sea via the Don river and canals (click here for more information).

Frozen Northern Caspian Sea and Snow in Kazakhstan

42.0N 50.0E

January 18th, 2013 Category: Lakes

Caspian Sea- January 12th, 2013

Fresh snow covers the terrain of Kazakhstan by the Caspian Sea, and the northern part of the sea is covered in ice. Despite the inflow of the Volga River (upper left), the northern portion of the Caspian Sea averages only 17 ft in depth, and responds to the region’s continental climate, which is cold in winter and hot and dry in the summer. The southern part of the Sea is deeper and remains ice-free throughout the winter.

Sediments and Phytoplankton Near Volga Delta – October 22nd, 2012

44.2N 49.4E

October 22nd, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Phytoplankton, Rivers, Sediments

Caspian Sea – October 21st, 2012

Sediments and phytoplankton growth color the northern part of the Caspian Sea. While those in the central part of the northern lobe appear milky blue in color, those along the upper shoreline appear bright green. The latter are seeping out of the Volga River Delta, visible as a brown and green fanshaped area on the left side of the image.

Algal Growth Near Volga River Delta, Caspian Sea

45.9N 49.9E

September 23rd, 2012 Category: Phytoplankton, Rivers, Sediments

Caspian Sea – September 17th, 2012

The Volga Delta is the largest river delta in Europe, and occurs where Europe’s largest river system, the Volga River, drains into the Caspian Sea in Russia’s Astrakhan Oblast, north-east of the republic of Kalmykia. The delta is located in the Caspian Depression—the far eastern part of the delta lies in Kazakhstan. The delta drains into the Caspian approximately 60 km downstream from the city of Astrakhan.

Industrial and agricultural modification to the delta plain has resulted in significant wetland loss. Between 1984 and 2001, the delta lost 277 km² of wetlands, or an average of approximately 16 km² per year, from natural and human-induced causes. The Volga discharges large amounts of industrial waste and sediment into the relatively shallow northern part of the Caspian Sea. The added fertilizers nourish the algal blooms that grow on the surface of the sea, clearly visible in the upper half of this image, allowing them to grow larger.

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.

 

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