During the mid-1970s, water levels in the inland Caspian Sea dropped to record lows before steadily rising until mid-1990s. Since 1995, water levels began to steadily decline by seven centimeters per year. Warmer summer temperatures have increased evaporation as summer winds push the humidity south across Iran toward the Arabian Sea. A population of some 80 million people would benefit from action aimed at replenishing Caspian Sea water levels and maintaining optimal peak levels.
While water levels of inland lakes and inland seas have risen and fallen over many centuries, this latest trend of warmer summers would likely extend into the long-term future. To the east of the Caspian Sea, irrigation caused water levels in the Aral Sea to drop to critical before efforts to replenish water levels began. The Aral Sea has begun to recover. Water levels in the Caspian Sea and Dead Sea have dropped for entirely different reasons. Recognizing a potentially critical situation, the King of Jordan initiated discussion about building a canal between Gulf of Aqaba and the Dead Sea.
By comparison, the Caspian Sea is far more critical to the economies of nations that surround that Sea than either the Aral or Dead Seas. If left unresolved, continued declining water levels in the Caspian Sea would likely spell economic disaster for nations such as Iran, Iraq, Southern Turkey and Syria. Winter winds carry moisture from the Caspian Sea to the watershed areas of rivers that flow through these nations and a shrinking Caspian Sea would produce steadily declining winter evaporation. Read on, thanks to the ME.