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Collection: Vital Caspian Graphics

Vital Caspian GraphicsVital Caspian Graphics
In recent years the Caspian Sea has been the focus of increased global attention. The world-wide decline in oil and gas reserves and the corresponding rise in the price of hydrocarbon derivatives have heightened interest in an area where there is still growth potential in oil and gas exploration. In addition, the region presents a wealth of opportunities in other areas, including bioresources, transport corridors, and not least ecotourism. These new ventures may bring increased prosperity, but they also put pressure on traditional rural communities and the environment.
Available online at: http://www.grida.no/publications/vg/caspian
Comb-jelly (Mnemiopsis leidyi) spreading through the Caspian Sea (invasive species) Comb-jelly (Mnemiopsis leidyi) spreading through the Caspian Sea (invasive species)
The comb jelly (Mnemiopsis leidyi) is well adapted to the habitat (salinity, temperature, and food range) and reproduces faster than endemic species. As it eats the same food as them, it has had a drastic effect on their numbers, upsetting the entire food chain. The jelly is an invasive species, brought from North America by ships.
04 Oct 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Kara-Bogaz-Gol - restoration of previous water levels after 1992 (Turkmenistan, Caspian Sea) Kara-Bogaz-Gol - restoration of previous water levels after 1992 (Turkmenistan, Caspian Sea)
Kara-Bogaz-Gol is a lowland area that forms a highly saline bay on the east side of the Caspian Sea, in Turkmenistan. In Soviet times it was decided to set up a dam to block the flow of saline water from the bay to the Caspian Sea, and this was completed in 1980. The ensuing increase in the salt content of the southern part of the Caspian Sea, to levels exceeding 15 grams per litre, had disastrous consequences for the sturgeon population. In the ...
29 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Kara-Bogaz-Gol - water level variation over time Kara-Bogaz-Gol - water level variation over time
Comparing a series of satellite images from different periods a Californian hydrologist discovered in 1983 that a huge white spot had taken the place of the vast Kara-Bogaz- Gol (literally “dark gullet” in Turkmen) in the south-east corner of the Caspian. Kara-Bogaz-Gol is a lowland area that forms a highly saline bay on the east side of the Caspian Sea, in Turkmenistan.
07 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Oil production and forecasts - Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan Oil production and forecasts - Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan
For the Caspian Sea countries of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, the extraction of oil represents a significant resource, and the production has been increasing since independence. Numbers should however be treated with caution, estimates changing frequently as new exploration work is carried out. The most recent forecasts for Azerbaijan have been more moderate, whereas new exploitation work will soon be starting in Kazakhstan.
29 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Ice cover on the North Caspian Sea Ice cover on the North Caspian Sea
Higher winter temperatures, possibly related to changes in global climate observed in recent years, have caused thinner ice coverage and restricted the traditional reproduction grounds of the Caspian seal in the shallow waters of the northern Caspian.
29 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Energy production, consumption and export - Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan Energy production, consumption and export - Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan
The land-based activities of the oil and gas industry in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have had a much more severe impact on the environment than marine activity. In particular the growth in hydrocarbon-related activity has destroyed the environmental balance of whole areas throughout the region.
29 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Caviar imports to Japan, European Union and United States Caviar imports to Japan, European Union and United States
The Caspian area is the world’s main producer of wild caviar (83% in 2003) and supplies the three largest markets, the European Union, Japan and the USA. The construction of several hydroelectric power plants and dams along the Volga river significantly altered the flow of water into the delta and destroyed about 90% of the sturgeon’s spawning grounds, which can be as far as several hundreds of kilometres upstream. This graphic displays the repor...
29 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Caspian sea climate, mean annual temperature and precipitation Caspian sea climate, mean annual temperature and precipitation
With the Caspian Sea's north-south alignment, stretching over a distance of approximately 10 degrees, the water body crosses several different climatic regions. The northernmost regions, with Russia and Kazakhstan are characterised by dry and cold temperate continental cliamte. The south part of the sea, with Iran, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan is mountaineous and much warmer. The most precipitation is in the eastern parts, primarily in the southea...
07 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Pollutants in sediments of the Caspian Sea (pesticides, nickel and chromium) Pollutants in sediments of the Caspian Sea (pesticides, nickel and chromium)
Sampled sediments in the Caspian Sea show that the accumulation is at its worst in the south and southwestern shores of this inland sea, off the shores of Iran and Azerbaijan. Sampled pollutants presented in this map are pesticides (persistant organic pollutants Lindane and DDT - POPs), and the heavy metals Chromium and Nickel.
29 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Transportation projects converging on the Caspian Sea Transportation projects converging on the Caspian Sea
For many years, coastal navigation has connected republics in the former Soviet Union. It used the only outlet from the Caspian, the Volga-Don canal, which connects the Black Sea and the Russian canal system to the Baltic. It is still used to transport raw materials, timber, coal, grain, fertilisers, etc.
29 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Population density and urban centers in the Caspian Sea region Population density and urban centers in the Caspian Sea region
Apart from two large urban areas – Baku-Sumgait and Makhachkala-Kaspiisk – and the Iranian coast on the southern shore, a very densely populated coastal strip where one agglomeration leads into the next, most of the population living on the shores of the Caspian is rural, with strong religious and family traditions actively maintained.
29 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Variations in sea level for the Caspian Sea (1840-2004) Variations in sea level for the Caspian Sea (1840-2004)
The Caspian Sea has been endoreic – inwardly draining, without any outlet – since the Pliocene epoch (about 5 million years ago), prompting some specialists to treat it as the world’s largest lake. Studies of its geomorphology and hydrology have revealed alternating cycles of rising and falling water levels, raising many questions, scientific for some, more down-to-earth for those living on the shores.
07 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Discharge of selected pollutants Discharge of selected pollutants
Nitrogen and phosphorous represents nutrients that can be seen as pollutants, as large concentations of those increase eutrophication. Nutrients are present in primarily commercial fertilisers and in sewage. A measure of eutrophication is biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), which measures the activity in the water column. High BOD means that there is low water quality (in terms of eutrophication) and high activity of bacteria in the water. This grap...
29 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Selected impacts of climate change in the Caspian Sea region Selected impacts of climate change in the Caspian Sea region
As the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increases, the temperature in the European part of the Caspian Sea region will continue to rise, at least at first. Some researchers have recently expressed fears that the warm Gulf Stream current in the Atlantic Ocean may slow down due to the changes in the Artic environment and oceanic circulation.
01 Oct 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Water flow from the Caspian Sea to the bay of Kara-Bogaz-Gol, 1930-2000 Water flow from the Caspian Sea to the bay of Kara-Bogaz-Gol, 1930-2000
Kara-Bogaz-Gol is a lowland area that forms a highly saline bay on the east side of the Caspian Sea, in Turkmenistan. Soviet leaders maintained that this was “a useless caldron for evaporation, an insatiable mouth swallowing up the precious water of the Caspian Sea” and obviously to blame. The dam, finished in 1980 blocked the flow of the water between the Caspian Sea and Kara-Bogaz-Gol. This reduced the water levels in the bay while increasing d...
07 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Oil pollution in Azerbaijan Oil pollution in Azerbaijan
There are hundreds of abandoned oil wells in Azerbaijan, and thousands in Kazakhstan, many of which have been submerged by the rising sea. There are reports of big leaks into the water, killing waterfowl and fish. Thousands of hectares of soil on Azerbaijan’s Apsheron peninsula are unsuitable for agricultural use.
29 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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How the comb-jelly (Mnemiopsis leidyi) is spreading through European seas (invasive species) How the comb-jelly (Mnemiopsis leidyi) is spreading through European seas (invasive species)
The most threatening event for the Caspian ecosystem was the arrival of the North American comb jelly (Mnemiopsis leidyi). It was brought accidentally to the Caspian in the ballast water of oil tankers. Invasive and alien species can exploit ecological niches that are not currently occupied, and spread rapidly, out-competing indigenous species.
29 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Illegal trade of caviar, 2000-2005 Illegal trade of caviar, 2000-2005
It is not clear to what extent the temporary ban on caviar exports has boosted well established illegal domestic and international trafficking, obviously not accounted for in the official figures. The illegal trade in caviar threatens the sturgeon populations around the Caspian Sea.
29 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Caspian Sea - salinity Caspian Sea - salinity
The Caspian Sea has internal drainage, which means that it does not have an outlet to the World Ocean. All water entering the sea accumulates or evaporates. The sea surface salinity in the sea exhibits a gradient, with the semi-encludes bay of Kara-Bogaz-Gol having the most saline water. This bay was closed between 1980 and 1992.
07 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Population by administrative region, Caspian Sea region Population by administrative region, Caspian Sea region
Several countries and provinces – Iran, Daghestan, Turkmenistan and parts of Azerbaijan – still enjoy very high population growth rates (in excess of 10 per 1,000). Many of the population tends to gravitate towards the Caspian Sea.
29 Nov 2007 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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