Caspian Sea (Eurasia)
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed inland body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world’s largest lake or a full-fledged sea. It is in an endorheic basin (it has no outflows) located between Europe and Asia. The Caspian Sea suffers from severe inflows of chemical and biological pollutants as well as impacts of oil extraction on its islands, making it of concern to researchers.
The Caspian see is bounded by Kazakhstan to the northeast, Russia to the northwest, Azerbaijan to the west, Iran to the south, and Turkmenistan to the southeast. The sea lies to the east of the Caucasus Mountains and to the west of the vast steppe of Central Asia. Its northern part, the Caspian Depression, is one of the lowest points on Earth. The ancient inhabitants of its coast perceived the Caspian Sea as an ocean, probably because of its saltiness and large size.
The sea has a surface area of 371,000 km2 (143,200 sq mi) (not including the detached lagoon of Garabogazköl) and a volume of 78,200 km3 (18,800 cu mi). It has a salinity of approximately 1.2% (12 g/l), about a third of the salinity of most seawater.
The Volga River, the largest in Europe, drains 20% of the European land area and is the source of 80% of the Caspian’s inflow. Its lower reaches are heavily developed with numerous unregulated releases of chemical and biological pollutants. Although existing data are sparse and of questionable quality, there is ample evidence to suggest that the Volga is one of the principal sources of transboundary contaminants into the Caspian.
The magnitude of fossil fuel extraction and transport activity in the Caspian also poses a risk to the environment. The island of Vulf off Baku, for example, has suffered ecological damage because of the petrochemical industry; this has significantly decreased the number of species of marine birds in the area. Existing and planned oil and gas pipelines under the sea further increase the potential threat to the environment.
This model grid contains 5,186 cells, and is a Cartesian grid, with effectively zero orthogonal deviation. This grid was built using EFDC_Explorer8.