Tracking of sea level impact on Caspian Ramsar sites and potential restoration of the Gorgan Bay on the southeast Caspian coast

Lahijani H. A., Azizpour J., Arpe K., Abtahi B., Rahnama R., Ghafarian P., ...More

Science of the Total Environment, vol.857, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 857
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.158833
  • Journal Name: Science of the Total Environment
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, Aerospace Database, Analytical Abstracts, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, Chimica, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, EMBASE, Environment Index, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Geobase, Greenfile, MEDLINE, Metadex, Pollution Abstracts, Public Affairs Index, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Coastal wetland, Coastal lagoon, Lake level change, Climate change, Lagoon desiccation
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: No


© 2022The situation of Ramsar sites along the Caspian Sea coast has deteriorated over the past decades, and this is more noticeable in the narrow coastal strip of the south Caspian Sea. In this study we investigate how the Caspian Sea level changes affect the coastal Ramsar sites. Particularly, we focus on the Gorgan Bay in the southeast corner of the Caspian Sea, which is experiencing extensive water level decline, even desiccation. We used satellite images from three periods corresponding to periods of two sea level falls and one sea level rise, in order to decipher spatio-temporal changes of the wetlands. We conducted field campaign in the Gorgan Bay for sampling and measurement of physical, chemical and biological parameters. We simulated water circulation for the past, current and future conditions of the Gorgan Bay, which is essential to sustain better water exchange between the Bay and the Caspian Sea. We applied dust simulation in the case of a total desiccation of the Gorgan Bay. The result shows that the total area of the Caspian coastal Ramsar sites during the two periods of the sea level fall is almost the same; however, the aerial changes in the southern wetlands are more visible. Nutrient and plankton analysis of the Gorgan Bay display mainly mesotrophic conditions, in some areas close to eutrophic ones. The average current velocity in the main inlet is 2.5 cms−1. Dust simulation indicates that in case of the Gorgan Bay desiccation, it will become a dust source for the surrounding area up to 60 km. Simulation of the water circulation with dredging of inlets (future scenario), indicates that the water exchange velocity doubles compared to the current scenario. A recommended inlet maintenance would accelerate water circulation and reduce residence time, which will lead to better trophy and prevent bay desiccation.