It is likely to be one of the first areas that will dry out if water levels drop as much as some scientists expect.
In many parts of the world, sea levels are rising due to global warming. But scientists note that warming and increased evaporation are likely to play out differently for inland seas and lakes.
In the case of the Caspian Sea (technically a lake), scientists anticipate rapid declines in water levels in the coming decades and centuries. Radar altimetry data collected by multiple satellites and compiled by NASA's Global Water Monitor indicate that the Caspian's water levels have already been dropping since the mid-1990s.
By one estimate, Caspian water levels could drop by 9 to 18 meters (30 to 59 feet) by the end of the 21st century, enough that it would lose about a quarter of its area and uncover about 93,000 square kilometers (36,000 square miles) of dry land. That is an area about as large as Portugal.
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Image via NASA Earth Observatory