Monitoring of the Ecological State of the Offshore Water of the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea

Did you know that about 1/3 of continental Europe belongs to the Azov-and-Black-Sea Basin, which is a closed ecosystem with unique and diverse bioresources and which at the same time is one of the most ecologically unfavorable regions of the world?

Practically every year, in some regions of the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, the oxygen content decreases down to the critical level of 1-3 mg/liter resulting in fish dye-offs.

Thus, on June 31, 2001, due to the decrease of oxygen down to 5 mg/liter, increase of water temperature up to 29oC in the Sea of Azov and lack of the wind-driven circulation, there were registered dye-offs of gobies in the amount of over 6 tons.

There are numerous reasons for degradation of the ecological state of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. "Mainly, it is pollution of water with waste waters. Yearly, in the basins of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov there occur 20-30 oil spills", says , Chief Project Specialist of ULRMC. According to Serenko, among other negative factors there are discharges of polluted sewage waters from enterprises, costal cities and other settlements, rain wash out of organic matters from farmlands, increase of air temperature and phytoplankton dye-off after its bloom period.

Issues of monitoring of large-scale pollutions resulting form oil spills, as well as study of phytoplankton bloom are among foreground priorities of the State Program for Early Warning and Response to Emergency Situation of Human and Natural Origin for 2000-2005.

By request of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources (MENRU), the Ministry of Agricultural Policy (MAP) and the Fishery Department of MAP, in April, 2002, ULRMC started the project for preparation of observations of phytoplankton bloom dynamics and water surface temperature, and the analysis of the relation between these phenomena and the state of fishery of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

The major project objective is provision of technical and methodical assistance to the organs of the abovementioned Ministries and the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Ukraine in order to:

  • Track the trajectory of oil patch drifting in case of a potential accident;
  • Development of recommendations concerning methods of oil spill removal;
  • Identification of zones of intense phytoplankton bloom and water temperature increase as the zones of the state degradation of fishery in both seas.

The expected project outcomes are:

  • Working model of interaction of oil and sea water;
  • Models for calculation of oil patches in the north-western part of the Black Sea offshore zone;
  • Calibrated models for processing of images of algae development, temperature and ice mode of the seas.

These measures will form a foundation for decision-making concerning planning of prevention activities for stabilization of the ecological state of the seas (water melioration, aerifiction, clearing, fishing out in the areas where fish dye-offs are possible).

Technical and methodological tools developed under this project may as well be used for commercial purposes. A consigner can predict quality changes of the oil collected after the accident in order to determine the way of its further use. Knowing the oil spill area allows identifying the number of oil collectors required for its removal. Satellite images of oil spills and their movement may be inestimably helpful in providing a better quality of calculations of environmental damage.

Under this project, ULRMC co-operates with the experts of the Ukrainian Scientific Center of Sea Ecology under MENRU, Fishery Department under MAP, Institute of Biology of Southern Seas, Marine Hydrophysical Institute (Sevastopol), and Donetsk University.

You can get more details about the use of remote sensing in research of water basin ecology form a ULRMC article: "Use of Remotely Sensed Data in Research of Water Influence on the Ecology of Water Basins"

To extend your knowledge of water terms, please, read Ecological and Hydrogeological Dictionary.

To learn more about water problems read sites and portals concerning water issues.

[ Last updated : 18-Aug-2003 21:43 ]
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