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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 13:35 EDT

Black Sea

The Black Sea is a sea located in south-eastern Europe. It’s bordered by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is eventually connected to the Atlantic Ocean by means of the Mediterranean and the Aegean Seas and a variety of straits. The Bosphorus Strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the Strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean Sea area of the Mediterranean. These waters divide eastern Europe and western Asia. The Black Sea is connected to the Sea of Azov by the Strait of Kerch as well.

The Black Sea has an area of 168,500 sq mi, not including the Sea of Azov. It has a maximum depth of 7,257 ft and a volume of 131,200 cu mi. It forms in an east-west trending elliptical depression which lies between Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Turkey, Russia and Ukraine. It’s constrained by the Pontic Mountains to the south, the Caucasus Mountains towards the east and features a wide shelf towards the northwest.

Some significant cities along the coast include Batumi, Burgas, Giresun, Hopa, Constanta, Kerch, Navodari, Mangalia, Novoraossiysk, Odessa, Rize, Poti, Ordu, Sevastopol, Sochi, Sukhumi, Varna, Yalta, Zonguldak, Samsun, and Trabzon.

The Black Sea supports an active and vibrant marine ecosystem, dominated by species that are suited to the brackish, nutrient-rich conditions.

Short-term climatic variation in the Black Sea is considerably influenced by the operation of the North Atlantic Oscillation, the climatic mechanisms resulting from the interaction between the north Atlantic and mid-latitude air masses. While the exact mechanisms that cause the North Atlantic Oscillation remain indistinct, it’s though that the climate conditions established in western Europe arbitrate the heat and precipitation fluxes reaching Central Europe and Eurasia, regulating the formation of winter cyclones, which are principally responsible for regional precipitation inputs and influence Mediterranean Sea Surface Temperatures.

Image Caption: The coasts of Batumi, Georgia (Europe). Credit: ComtesseDeMingrelie/Wikipedia (CC BY 2.5)

Black Sea