Climate Reconstruction

Ancient Climate Reconstruction – Caspian Sea and Aral Sea

We are looking for volunteers who are hiking and biking in the mountains, deserts and aquatic environments surrounding The Caspian and Aral Seas.


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The Caucasus Mountains

The Project

There is little known about the environment of the Caspian Sea, an ecosystem that has changed tremendously with time–its sea levels changing 100 times faster than those of the global oceans! In order to understand the full range of changes, we need to look back in time. Sediment, topsoil, soil mosses and lagoon mud act as a time capsule through which we can interpret past environmental and climatic conditions, as well as assess present conditions.  This study will supply researchers with fossils in modern sediment, offering a way to understand worldwide climatic conditions and in turn interpret an ancient climate.

How Can You Participate?

Volunteers will collect  modern samples of sediment, top soil, soil mosses and lagoon mud from the rarely visited and often hard to reach regions around the Caspian and Aral Seas including, but not limited to, desert coastline, and mountain ranges such as the Caucasus, Elburz and Kipet Dag.  


In drier areas, fine sediment can be sampled from puddles.


Sampling moss from a tree.

How will this data be used?

The data will be used to calibrate  reconstructions of past vegetative , saline and climatic conditions in the Caspian Sea. Having a clearer view of  ancient climates will help us better understand the future of climate change.


Riverside Sampling near the Caspian Sea