Caspian Water Level Lowest in 30 Years

Caspian Water Level Lowest in 30 Years

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Satellite images obtained by Tasnim indicate that the Caspian Sea’s water levels have been dropping constantly and reached the lowest in the past 30 years.

The satellite images provided to Tasnim illustrate that the water levels in the northern parts of the Caspian Sea have been declining for years.

Estimates show that water levels in the Caspian Sea have dropped by 9 meters, resulting in a 24% decrease in the area of the sea.

The satellite images, taken from 2000 to July 2023, indicate that the level of water in the northern half of the lake has dropped more severely than in its southern part, which is deeper.




“The ecological level of the Caspian Sea during the life of the sea has had sinusoidal oscillations naturally. For several years, the Caspian water level has constantly increased and has then decreased for another several years. But in the last two decades, the process of reduction of the Caspian water level has become lengthier and the intensity of decline in the water level, particularly in recent years, has accelerated in a way that the water level has dropped by 26 centimeters in 1401 (March 2022 – March 2023) alone,” Mojtaba Zoljoodi, the deputy head of the Iranian Department of Environment told Tasnim.

Measured by surface area, the Caspian Sea is the Earth’s largest inland water body, spanning about 371,000 square kilometers. Measured by economic, social, and biodiversity standards, it is priceless.

The Caspian Sea supports a commercially important fishery, supplies water for agriculture, and provides recreation and work opportunities for people living nearby. Its waters are also home to several threatened species, including an estimated 90 percent of the planet’s last-remaining sturgeon.

In the northern Caspian, shallow waters teem with mollusks, crustaceans, fish, and birds. Seals raise their pups on winter ice that usually only forms in this part of the lake. And all rely on a healthy water level for their existence. However, the Caspian Sea is rapidly shrinking.

Radar altimetry data collected by multiple satellites and compiled by NASA’s Global Water Monitor indicate that the Caspian’s water levels have been dropping since the mid-1990s. Other research suggests that the decline could continue as climate change brings warmer air temperatures and increased evaporation.

In one study, scientists ran several models to estimate future water losses due to climate change. They projected that by 2100, water levels in the Caspian Sea could drop by another 8 to 30 meters. The use or diversion of water for human activity is also an important driver of water loss in the Caspian. Accounting for this factor adds up to 7 meters of further loss, the scientists found, NASA reported.

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