Using this graphic and referring to it is encouraged, and please use it in presentations, web pages, newspapers, blogs and reports.
For any form of publication, please include the link to this page and give the cartographer/designer credit (in this case Original cartography by Philippe Rekacewicz (le Monde Diplomatique) assisted by Laura Margueritte and Cecile Marin, later updated by Riccardo Pravettoni (GRID-Arendal), Novikov, Viktor (Zoi Environment Network))
Panin, G., N., Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis. Climate Change and Vulnerability Assessment Report for the Caspian Basin, 2007.
Uploaded on Thursday 01 Mar 2012
Original cartography by Philippe Rekacewicz (le Monde Diplomatique) assisted by Laura Margueritte and Cecile Marin, later updated by Riccardo Pravettoni (GRID-Arendal), Novikov, Viktor (Zoi Environment Network)
The Caspian Sea has been endoreic – inwardly draining –
since the Pliocene era (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 its shores.
In a century, between 1880 and 1977, the level of
the sea dropped four metres (from -25 metres to -29
metres below mean sea level) apart from short periods
during which it rose slightly. During this time local
people became accustomed to the gradual drop in
the water level, carrying out all sorts of work on the
shores, particularly after the Second World War: port
infrastructures, roads and railways, construction of
housing and holiday facilities. In the Soviet Union the
dramatic drying up of the Azov Sea, a side-basin of the
Black Sea, which occurred at the same time, gave rise
to genuine fears that the Caspian – or at least its very
shallow northern part, which is less than 25 metres deep
– would in turn shrink significantly. This led to hasty,
misguided decisions such as the construction of a dyke
in 1983 to close the Kara Bogaz Gol gulf.