Warning of storm surges on the Caspian Sea coastal zone of the Kazakstan Republic

S. Shivareva, P. Plekhanov Caspian Sea Study Laboratory, Kazak Reasearch Institute for Environment and Climate Monitoring, 597, Seifullin Avenue, Almaty 480072, Republic of Kazakstan.
Tel.: +7 3272-62 22 96, Fax: +7-3272-54 22 85,
E-mail: mizina@kaznigmi.alma-ata.su or shiva@lorton.almaty.kz

The large rise in sea-level of the Caspian Sea during the last 15 years has caused great damage to many aspects of the national economy. As a result of the present sea-level rise in the Caspian Sea, more than 30,000 km2 have been flooded. Due to the inundation, thousands of people have been resettled, and capital investments into industry and infrastructure have been lost. In accordance with its terms of reference the scope of the present project is confined to a limited part of these problems.

The hydraulic modelling activities in the coastal zone of the Caspian Sea are based on the generalised MIKE mathematical modelling system of the Danish Hydraulic Institute. MIKE 21 is a comprehensive modelling package with state-of-the-art process descriptions and numerical algorithms. Three models of bathymetry for the Caspian Sea were created by Kazak scientists: the Caspian sea bathymetry (grid spacing at 10 km apart), a bathymetry of the northern Caspian Sea (grid spacing at 2 km apart) and a local bathymetry close to Atyrau (grid spacing at 0.5 km apart). Extreme meteorological conditions causing storm surges along the Kazakstan coast, as well as wind statistics were collected, processed and analysed. Simultaneous observations of water levels, currents, wind and air pressures for model calibration and validation were executed. The calibration and validation simulations of the Caspian Sea level during one the typical storm surges on the Kazak coast were conducted by researchers from Kazakstan. The hydraulic modelling activities allow warning of the storm surges, 6, 12 and 24 hours in advance of their hitting the coastal zone, as well as allowing recommendations to be made for the systematic protection of coastal areas.