Modabberi, A; Noori, R; Madani, K; Ehsani, AH; Mehr, AD; Hooshyaripor, F; Klove, B (2020). Caspian Sea is eutrophying: the alarming message of satellite data. ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 15(12), 124047.

The competition over extracting the energy resources of the Caspian Sea together with the major anthropogenic changes in the coastal zones have resulted in increased pollution and environmental degradation of the sea. We provide the first evaluation of the spatiotemporal variation of chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) across the Caspian Sea. Using remotely sensed data from 2003 to 2017, we found that the Caspian Sea has suffered from a growing increase in Chl-a, especially in warmer months. The shallow parts of the sea, near Russia and Kazakhstan, especially where the Volga and Terek rivers discharge large nutrient loads (nitrogen- and phosphorus-rich compounds) into the sea, have experienced the highest variations in Chl-a. The Carlson's trophic state index showed that during the study period, on average, about 12%, 26%, and 62% of the Caspian Sea's area was eutrophic, mesotrophic, and oligotrophic, respectively. The identified trends reflect an increasing rate of environmental degradation in the Caspian Sea, which has been the subject of conflict among its littoral states that since the collapse of the Soviet Union have remained unable to agree on a legal regime for governing the sea and its resources.