Analyses of Environmental Change
1.1 Analysis of the effects of invaders on productivity
1.2 Analyses of climate influence
1.3 Man-induced environmental change and pollution
1.4 Biological and Fisheries Production
Circulation and Ecosystem Modelling
2.1 Model setup, improvements and validation
2.2 Meso-scale variability and exchange processes
2.3 Satellite data assimilation
2.4 Development of lower trophic web ecosystem model
Observation and Process studies
3.1 Drifter experiment
3.2 XBT Surveys
3.3 Analysis of existing data on circulation
3.4 Mesoscale variability and exchange processes
Transfer of Technology and Expertise
4.1 Consultation with end-users
4.2 Training
4.3 Workshops
4.4 Sharing of knowledge with Universities in the region
Task Descriptions:
Task I Detection and Analysis of Environmental Change
Task 1a The role of invaders in the productivity of the Caspian Sea, and minimizing their impact
(IZ, IOI, MENR � AzNirkh, UG)
The recent introduction of invasive species, in particular of Mnemiopsis, is creating a tremendous problem in the Caspian Sea, as it has deprived commercially important fish of their food by competing with them for their food. Although there have been many other foreign species introduced into the Caspian Sea, the occupation by Mnemiopsis had the most detrimental effect on the ecosystem, threatening the biodiversity of the sea and its fisheries yield (CEP, 2002, K�dey� and Moghim, 2002). Similar situation has been first experienced in the Black Sea, and the experience there also provided demonstration of a possible remedy of biological control by another foreign organism, the Beroe Ovata, this time feeding on Mnemiopsis, and therby controlling the unlimited expansion of the latter. There are various present efforts to introduce this new species into the Caspian Sea, by CEP and governments of the riparian countries, although such measures can do more harm than good in a sensitive and large ecosystem such as the Caspian Sea if applied without restraint, and without positive scientific evidence that extends more than a few years of experience. On simple grounds both organisms represent biological dead-ends, since they can not be eaten by other organisms, and it is not clear how the ecosystem would respond and cycle in the long term, given its trophic complexity, climatic and biological subdomains and dynamics.

To measure the effects of recent invaders within the complexity of the wholeness of the Caspian Sea ecosystem, data bases demonstrating the long term changes in productivity in the entire sea domain will be evaluated and compared with the recent data. Invaders will be sampled in the different regions of Caspian, and will be treated and analyzed to determine their abundance. The data will be compared with data available to determine the negative effect of Atlantic-Mediterranean invaders. Methods for minimization of negative effect of invaders on biological resources will be presented, based on the review of past and new data.
Task 1b Climate influence on the physical state of the sea
Investigation of sea level variations and water balance components by Golitsyn and Panin (1989), Panin et al. (1991, 2003) and Mamedov (2001) testify to the climatic nature of modern level variations of the Caspian Sea. They, in particular, have shown, that the precipitation and evaporation, as well as sea level change are directly related to changes in surface wind velocity, suggesting changes in the near-surface atmospheric circulation within the last 30 years. During the period of Caspian sea level rise, a statistically significant decrease in wind speed (especially zonal winds of the autumn-winter period) was found, with a consequent decrease of evaporation.Similar conclusions were reached by Ibrayev et al. (2004), who showed that the surface fluxes are very sensitive to the direction of the wind velocity, especially in the eastern part of the basin. A review by Bengtson (1998) illustrates the global climatic linkages of the Caspian Sea level changes to the cumulative effects of ENSO events.. . Arpe et al. (1999) and Arpe and Roeckner (1999) have used a global atmospheric general circulation model to predict climatic changes in the river inflows and surface fluxes that lead to changes in sea level. Yet the physical mechanisms responsible for long-term changes in sea level are not sufficiently well understood.

The effects of large scale weather patterns represented by the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the North Sea - Caspian Sea Pattern (NCP) were examined by G�nd�z and �zsoy (unpublished manuscript, 2004) to determine their influence on the surface atmospheric variables and air-sea fluxes of mass, momentum and heat in the Euro-Asian-Mediterranean region, and specifically in the marine basins of the Eastern Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Seas. NCP was found to be significantly correlated with the air temperature, humidity, evaporation and wind stress fields over the Levantine, Aegean and Black sea regions, and with precipitation and evaporation in the Caspian Sea region.The dominant pattern influencing the region in winter clearly appears to be the recently proposed North Sea Caspian Pattern (NCP), which moreover is related to the Euro-Asian extension of the NAO.

Further research to establish the relationships between components of the hydrological cycle and the atmosphere-ocean interactions of the Caspian Sea is needed, and can be achieved by accounting for and obtaining further details of these components through analyses of data and model results. A review of all data from past climatologies and present day reanalysis data sets together with an evaluation of model responses to changing climate conditions will be used to infer linkages of the local processes with regional and global climate.
Task 1c Man induced environmental change, inventory of pollution
The archived data of project participants, and the involvement of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, as well as other end-users who has access to archived data should enable a collective evaluation of man-induced environmental change and inventory of pollution within the project. However, additional use will be made of the CEP resources, especially their Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis, which has been completed, and also their further activities during the course of parallel work during the lifetimes of the two projects, by establishing good communications and collaboration with CEP.
Task 1d Biological and Fisheries Production
(IZ, IOI, UG, MENR � AzNirkh)
The expertise of the institutions involved in this task will bring out a present day synthesis of the biological and fisheries production compared with the past, based on a collective review of the rich data base in their holdings. The changes in the ecosystem structure and functioning will be the special emphasis. In particular, possible regime shifts in the Caspian Sea ecosystem will be detected and related to the extreme states of possible overturning and stable stratification which appear to have developed as a function of climatic sea level changes. The effects of circulation and river dominated buoyancy currents and upwelling on the distribution of fish eggs and larvae will be considered. Similarly the role of the Volga river delta and the shallow north Caspian basin, in supporting the sequence of biological variations in the northern part of the Sea will be studied.
Task II Circulation and Ecosystem Models

Task 2a Model study of annual and inter-annual variability of the physical state of the sea validated with existing data
Using Kosarev monthly fields � to make sea level topography
The inter-annual scale modelling aims to simulate changes in three-dimensional circulation (flows and transport) and sea level resulting from climate variability and change. Various types of models (MESH, HOPS and POM) with representations of upwelling, sea-ice, and free surface dynamics will then be used to simulate and hindcast the response to short-term climate variability of recent decades hindcast the Caspian Sea circulation under realistic, data-driven, variable forcing conditions. Model hindcasts will be used to identify key physical processes of change and their climatic controls, such as periods of intensive convection depending on air sea interaction and water budgets. Initially, different ocean models will be used by different groups in this study to assess and compare models with respect to their utility for management in the Caspian Sea: MESH, HOPS and POM will be implemented for the Caspian Sea respectively by the INM (Russia), IMS (Turkey) and the OPEL (USA).

Recent studies carried out in INM and IMS have shown the ability of the MESH to simulate the Caspian Sea intra-annual variability of three-dimensional circulation and of sea level, the function which is sensitive to uncertainties in the model physics. The model also has shown the critical importance of simulated Sea Surface Temperature (SST) in producing reasonable air-sea fluxes, i.e. of evaporation and finally the water budget of the Sea. Taking into account that for the reasonable simulation of the SST it is neccessary to resolve the upper mixed layer, which equals to 5-10 meters in the Caspian Sea in warm period, the z-level sea dynamics models possible to simulate only small variations (of about 20-50 cm) of the mean sea level (i.e. intra-annual). For simulation and studies of inter-annual variations of water budget, of three-dimensional circulation regimes, of deep-sea ventilation a new hybrid s-z version of MESH will be used.

Modelling for inter-annual scales will cover the periods from 1949-2000 (NCEP re-analysis) and 1954-1993 (ECMWF 40 year re-analysis). Use of different models for these simulations will illustrate their sensitivity to the representation of different processes and will establish the uncertainty range of model predictions. The different model runs, using different atmospheric boundary conditions and different numerics and parameterizations will serve as ensemble estimates, a method widely used already in climate research, to reduce uncertainties in model estimates.

For the aims of validation of climatic models the available data arrays will be collected. Data include time series of sea level, temperature, salinity, currents and meteorological variables from coastal stations. The IG will carry out a compilation and spacial analysis using sea-level data at Caspian Sea coastal stations. The collection and systematic investigation of the current, temperature / salinity, air temperature, humidity and wind measurements in the Caspian Sea and especially in the western shelf zone (from Makhachkala to Iran coast) will be made by IG.

Reconstruction of the regular annual cycle of the Caspian Sea circulation will be carried out by means of assimilation of the archive temperature and salinity arrays. Assimilation of the archive hydrography makes possible to build four-dimensional fileds of currents adjusted to the climatic temperature and salinity fields and will be used as the reference for the study of interannual variability. Similar methodology was efficiently applied at the Black Sea and was able to clarify specific feature of annual cycle of the basin (Korotaev et al. 2000). Additional output of the four-dimentional Caspian Sea climate will be reconstruction of the regular cycle of the sea level which will be applied for the reconstruction of the absolute sea level from altimetry data.
Task 2b Modelling of mesoscale variability and exchange processes
Meso-scale current systems and their variability (e.g. eddies, jets, fronts, upper ocean structure associated with river plumes, filaments, turbulent and bottom boundary layers, transient coastal currents and undercurrents, coastal upwelling / downwelling, near-inertial motions, and topographic modes) are important for understanding and guiding future analyses of ecosystem dynamics and transboundary pollution transport. As in any circulation regime, it is important to characterize the nature of the Caspian Sea meso-scale variability, and its role in exchange processes and influence on the slowly-varying general circulation.

A few numerical ocean circulation models (MESH, HOPS, POM) with meso-scale-admitting horizontal and vertical resolution will be used in the Caspian Sea to determine the seasonal evolution and geographical distribution of the meso-scale variability, corresponding to synoptic atmospheric forcing from ECMWF, and daily discharge values from the Volga River. Model verification and validation will be accomplished using all available data representing transient dynamics of the sea. After the simulations have been verified and validated through several runs with parameter adjustments, then data assimilation of the altimetric SSH (Task 2c) data will be used to hindcast the circulation for several years. One product will be the creation of the seasonal geography of meso-scale variability. Another product will be estimates of surface particle trajectories and dispersion calculated from virtual particles released from strategically chosen locations over the seasonal cycle and under different scenarios of synoptic atmospheric forcing. The simulated particle trajectories will be validated statistically in comparison to the surface drifter trajectories (Task VIII).

HOPS (Harvard Ocean Prediction System) is a flexible, portable and generic system for nowcasting, forecasting and simulations at sea. The Harvard group has successfully applied HOPS to different regional nowcast/forecast studies including real-time shipboard forecast experiments (Robinson et al, 1996a and 1996b, Be�iktepe et al, 2001, 2003). HOPS is an integrated system of software that is developed for producing interdisciplinary oceanic field estimates, including nowcasts, forecasts, and data-driven simulations from a variety of data types and databases (Robinson et al.,1996a). It consists of physical, biogechemical/ecosystem and acoustical modules together with assimilation & initialization schemes and visualizations tools.

The physical model of particular interest is the Primitive Equation Model (Spall and Robinson, 1990) based on the standard model of Bryan and Cox. The Harvard Primitive Equation Model's capabilities include enhancements that facilitate the use of model forregional applications such as open boundary conditions on the horizontal boundaries, terrain - following coordinates in the vertical, a Shapiro filter parameterization of the horizontal diffusion, ability to rotate the model domain, and mixed layer representations. Relevant to the Black Sea is the addition of a double sigma coordinate transformation in the vertical and the improvement of pressure gradient and interpolation algorithms for the primitive equation model in order to be able to work accurately and efficiently with steep topography.

The most important advantage of the HOPS is existence of the initialization and assimilation schemes. The HOPS data assimilation schemes are based on a robust optimal interpolation scheme and a simple melding scheme that formally resemble an interpolation scheme (Lozano et al., 1996).
Task 2c Satellite data assimilation
In the past decade, it has been shown that most efficient applications of remote sensing observations for the study of inland basin dynamics consist in their joint use with the circulation models. Such remote sensing data as IR SST and surface wind by measured by scatterometers permitting to formulate basin-wide upper boundary conditions for models. An even more important option is assimilation of the sea level measurements in circulation models. Sea surface topography characterizes directly surface geostrophic currents, which are formed by the deep-sea density distribution. Data assimilation techniques allow use of this connection for characterization of meso-scale structures of the basin dynamics. Altimeter data assimilation technique is applied now for the study of meso-scale dynamics of the set of inland seas as Mediterranean, Black and Baltic.

In the frame of the planned project we would like to apply the assimilation approach, which is based on estimated a priori correlation of absolute sea level and different depth density interface topographies. The Black Sea experience has shown that the use of merged database of Topex/Poseidon and ERS altimetry processed in frame of NASA Ocean Pathfinder project or by AVISO servise in France gives possibility to study the basin dynamics beginning from meso-scale up to basin-wide scales and from a few days to a decade.

Collection and preprocessing of altimeter measurements of Topex/Poseidon, ERS and optionally GFO, Jason-1 and ENVISAT missions will be carried out. Gridded and along track arrays of the absolute sea level of the Caspian Sea will be prepared using the methodology described at (Korotaev et al. 2001). Absolute sea level data will be assimilated in the Caspian Sea circulation model to reproduce three-dimensional evolution of the major hydrography. The assimilation procedures will be validated by means of comparison with coastal sea level observations, available hydrography, drifting buoy trajectories, and meso-scale feature dynamics observed from IR and visible band satellite imagery.
Task 2d Development of lower trophic web ecosystem model
Eddy-resolving three-dimensional models, developed in Task 2b will be coupled with lower trophic web biochemical model of Fasham. This approach has been successfully used for the Black Sea (�okacar and �zsoy 1998; Alexeeva and Ibrayev, 2000). Taking into account specifics of biochemical cycles of the Caspian Sea, at the first step one-dimensional physical-biochemical model will be developed with nitragen, phosphate and silicate limitation of primary production. The rich data bases of biochemical dynamics and expertise of KaspNIRKH will be used. The next step will be the development of three-dimensional physical-biochemical models and simulations of primary productivity seasonal cycle for �normal� year preceding to invasion of Mnemiopsis. And at the last step the models will incorporate invasive species in endemic food web, i.e. Mnemiopsis and its enemy Beroe Avata, to simulate the reaction of the Caspian Sea ecosystem to invasion of non-endemic species (Mnemiopsis) and possible remedy (Beroe Avata) to recover the ecosystem of the Sea.

The HOPS Biogeochemical / Ecosystem Model is a modular, generic approach to ecosystem dynamics and can easily be expanded to represent more or less species, nutrients, etc. The details of the ecosystem model is given by Be�iktepe et al, (2003).
Task III Observation and Process Studies
Task 3a Drifter experiment
A general scheme of large-scale circulation in the Caspian Sea is as follows. For the Middle Caspian there is a perennial dipole system consisting of cyclonic water circulation within its north-western part and anticyclonic within south-eastern part. Oppositely directed vortical dipole structure develops in the Southern Caspian. Seasonal variability of these two structures manifests as interrelated variations of location, size and intensity of these gyres which are quite evident up to 100 m depth. Mean velocities of currents near the centers of sub-basin gyres and along the contacts of oppositely directed gyres are, respectively, 5-10 cm s-1 and up to 20 cm s-1. According to field observations, strong northern and southern winds, typical for the Caspian Sea, are able to accelerate currents periodically up to 50-60 cm s-1 (Kosarev, Yablonskaya, 1994). Within the limits of the shallow-water Northern Caspian having low gradients of the bottom topography and gently sloping shores, the storm surges are among the most environmentally important manifestations of water dynamics. Both western and eastern shores of the Northern Caspian are affected by storm surges of 2.5-3 m or even higher, with inundated areas extending as far as 30 to 50 km from the shoreline. Such catastrophic events often result in pollution of the sea water by oil products, agricultural chemicals and other substances.

According to this general scheme, based on hydrological ship-borne data, very limited horizontal mixing occurs. Satellite thermal and color images, however, have revealed the existence of substantial mesoscale eddy variability in the entire Caspian Sea, including coastal currents which probably are one of the source of such variability. Satellite data show that the circulation in the surface layers of the Caspian Sea and the associated physical and biological processes are considerably more complicated than those described from geostrophic motions, based on traditional hydrological data sets (Kostianoy and Lobkovskiy, 2003). The concentration of various admixtures and supply of nutrients in the near-surface layer are determined by horizontal and vertical water eddy structures such as vortices, vortex dipoles and multi-poles, filaments and jets. These structures easily penetrate across the coastal currents zone and are responsible for the effective exchange between the shelf region and the open sea. So, it is possible to speculate that the Caspian Sea current system is actually not very persistent in space and time and that most of water parcels are not simply advected by the semi-closed large scale cyclonic and anticyclonic gyres but rather have complicated trajectories controlled by mesoscale variability.

One of the best modern tools to study the motion of water parcels in the upper mixed layer are satellite-tracked Lagrangian drifters (Global Drifting Buoy Observations, 1999). The investigation of surface ocean currents with Lagrangian drifters became possible when more modern satellite-tracked drifters � the SVP drifters with a holey-sock drogue about 15 meter beneath the water surface - were developed about 15 years ago (Sybrandy and Niiler, 1991). The SVP drifter design was used to study near-surface mixed layer currents in many parts of the World Ocean and in some marginal seas, but was never operated in the Caspian Sea.

The possibility to use SVP-B-type (with sea surface temperature and atmospheric pressure sensors) drifters for the investigation of the Caspian Sea upper layer currents during the Project will be achieved for the first time due to the international scientific collaboration between Turkish, Azerbaijan, Russian, Ukrainian and American scientists. It is planned to deploy six SVP-B drifters in key locations of the Caspian Sea and track them during several months through the satellite Argos Data Location and Collection System (DCLS). The experience gathered by SIO and MHI partners during 1999-2003 drifter experiments in the Black Sea (Afanasyev, Kostianoy, Zatsepin, Poulain, 2002; Zatsepin, Ginzburg, Kostianoy et al., 2002; 2003) will be transferred to the Caspian Sea. It is planned that the main strategy of the Caspian Sea circulation experiment will be based on the joint application of satellite imagery and satellite-tracked drifters. This modern strategy has never been used in the Caspian Sea studies. It will make possible to obtain innovative results on the mesoscale dynamics and on its role in the ecosystem functioning and pollution transport in the Caspian Sea.
Task 3b XBT surveys
The advantage of XBT surveys against classical ship-based surveys is that the expendible instruments can be deployed from vessels of opportunity rather than research vessels operated by research institutions. Research vessels of the partner countries are increasingly difficult to set out at sea for a particular process study to be performed, because of high operating costs. The objective of the present study is to obtain hydrographic signatures of the meso-scale circulation, especially along the eastern and western shelf regions of the middle Caspian basin. The circulation along these sloping bottom or shelf areas along both sides of the Caspian Sea have been found by Ibrayev et al. (2004) to have a fine structure of coastal jets flowing at different speeds and directions between the surface and deeper layers as influenced by Ekman drifts and upwelling circulations, and with horizontal distance from the coast, as affected by the buoyancy and wind driven circulation. The upwelling along the eastern coast is particularly evident.

The expendable bathythermograph (XBT) surveys will be performed from passenger ships operating along the routes Baku-Atyrau and Baku-Turkmenbashi, dropping XBT�s at horizontal spacing of 5km across the slope and shelf regions on both sides of the basin. Permissions will have to be obtained from shipping authorities and countries concerned. In addition to XBT�s measuring temperature, a few XCTD�s will be dropped at 50 km interval near the shelf slopes to help establish a better basis for hydrographic evaluations. The data will obtained during summer conditions and are expected to clearly define the mixed layer and deeper structure and the structure of upwelling, as well as meso-scale eddies and advection pattern of particular water masses.
Task 3c Analysis of existing experimental data on circulation
The geometry and sloping topography along both sides of the basin, shallow northern part, influence of large rivers, ice formation, upwelling processes subjected to variable wind forcing and baroclinic effects result in spatially and temporally variable currents in the Caspian Sea. It is therefore hard to conclude with a simple mean circulation schematics, based on statistical averages of measured currents. The main time scales of variability of the Caspian Sea circulation are shown to be in the meso- to synoptic scales, with periods from several hours to several days (Mamedov, 2000). Despite this uncertainty, the general circulation has been described to be cyclonic, based on the results of investigations carried out from the end of 19th century till 1950's, either using indirect estimates of currents (floats, bottles or the dynamic method), or simple hydrodynamic interpretations. A synthesis of these results has led to the current scheme of Lednev (1943) which shows cyclonic mean currents throughout most of Caspian Sea. Although some circulation features of this scheme have been confirmed by regular oceanographic observations and current measurements along the western coast, the northward currents indicated along the eastern coast contradict with summertime observations of surface southward currents in the same region, mainly because of a current reversal below the wind driven shallow surface mixed layer. On the other hand, the circulation indicated in the shallow northern basin appears to be almost totally controlled by local winds there.

The available past and recent measerements of currents will be collected and analysed also with the perspective given by circulation modelling. In addition, two current-meters will be placed at the drilling rig site of MENR within the Azerbaijan waters near the Apsheron sill (coordinates ....) for extended periods to provide details of the temporal variation of currents there. The current meter data and drifter data will be jointly anlysed for the period when they are concurrently operated, to yield further synthesis of the circulation features.
Task 3d Study of mesoscale variability and exchange processes � satellite in-situ and modelling data
The meso-scale variability of the Caspian Sea, especially the structure of eddies and jets, upwelling fronts and filaments, ice zones, shelf break and river plume fronts along the middle basin and Volga river domains of influence, the eastern upwelling region and mixing and exchange across the Apsheron sill are particular topics to be investigated by satellite (AVHRR, SeaWIFS, MODIS) and in-situ data (XBT�s and available CTD data), and to be related to eddy resolving modelling results showing some of these features. The role of the meso-scale motions in mixing and transferring energy, as well as in the ecosystem are interesting topics that will help a better understanding of these processes emerge.

Space imegery of IR and color scanners will be used also for the validation of simulations of the mesoscale variability of the Caspian Sea with altimetry assimilation.
Task IV Transfer of Technology and Expertise
Task 4a Consultation with end-users
The information on project status, development and results will be transferred directly to the principal end-users of the project and with their help to the Caspian Sea user groups and societies. In the case of Azerbaijan, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources is identified as an end-user, but it is also responsible for project coordination and units un der the Ministry are direct participants of the project. In the case of Russia, General Director of Natural Resources of the Republic of Daghestan under the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russian Federation is an end-user of the project which will ensure reception and transfer of the project information and results to communities of the Russian coast of the Caspian Sea and to the general public. The Regional Ecological Center for the Caucasus is also an end-user which will make use of project results and transmit them to the establishments and general public in the Caucasus region. Regular consultations with the end-users will be made through the project coordinator and directors as well as during project meetings.
Task 4b Training
(IOI, HCMR, IZ, Kolbin +all)
Regular training of young participants of the project (students, researchers) will take place during project activities by participation and exchange of persons from each institution on work performed for particular tasks. These will be in the form of short-term working visits to counterparts. Participation in international meetings to present project achievements will also be considered as training for young researchers presenting the scientific results. In addition, the IOI, as part of its mission, will take the lead in training of young candidates from regional universities and of young professionals from government, commercial fisheries and oil exploration concerns.
Task 4c Workshops
(IMS, IG, all co-directors)
A training workshop �Enclosed Seas Physical and Ecosystem Dynamics� for scientists involved on meso-scale and coastal sea dynamics, convection and ventilation processes, biological productivity and ecosystem dynamics is planned in the beginning of the second year of the Project. The workshop will serve to synthesize intermediate project results and to refresh the involved scientists on project development.

At the end of the third year of the project a NATO Advanced Research Workshop entitled �Caspian Sea: Sensitivity and Response to Environmental Change� will be organised with additional funding support to receive larger scale scientific discussion of problems and achievements to date. Regional problems will be discussed in invited papers covering the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea as well as the Caspian Sea. An overview and synthesis will be ensured with participation of invited lecturers.
Task 4d Sharing of knowledge with universities in the region
The Caspian Sea Operational Center of the IOI, as a regional center, with a mission to ensure sustainable use and sharing of the ocean as a common heritage of mankind, will plan activities for local or regional visits or meetings to make the project more �visible�, and to make its results public in the entire communities that have an interest in the Caspian Sea. It will establish contacts and arrange seminars with universities, NGO�s and public concerns to transmit the essence of the project, i.e. its results based on data and models to the more general science and public sector.