Sunglint illuminates the Caspian Sea Sunglint illuminates the Caspian Sea

Sunglint illuminates the Caspian Sea. Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features sunglint in the southeast corner of the Caspian Sea.

This particular part of the coastline, which is close to where Iran and Turkmenistan meet, is a landmark that is easy to distinguish from space.

The sunlight across the surface of the water reveals swirling patterns that represent specific types of circulation.

As a result of satellite data, scientists have discovered that the water in this corner of the Caspian Sea circulates slowly in a counterclockwise direction, making a broad current pattern termed a gyre. 

The photograph was captured on October 18, 2019 by an astronaut onboard the International Space Station.The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest inland body of water, variously classed as the world’s largest lake or a full-fledged sea. As an endorheic basin, it is located between Europe and Asia, east of the Caucasus, west of the broad steppe of Central Asia, and north of the Iranian Plateau of Western Asia. The sea has a surface area of 371,000 km2 (143,200 sq mi) (excluding 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. It 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 Caspian Sea is home to a wide range of species and may be best known for its caviar and oil industries. Pollution from the oil industry and dams on rivers draining into the Caspian Sea have had negative effects on the organisms living in the sea.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer


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