Long time ago known as “the Sea”, as well as the “inhospitable Sea”, mainly because of its difficult navigation, the Black Sea is one of a kind - one of the youngest seas on the Earth, one of the largest anoxic water body, draining a third of Europe, a model sea to study alien marine species invasions, heavily eutrophied, very beautiful, full of life.
Its freshwater balance is positive, meaning it receives more fresh water from the rivers and rainfall than it loses from evaporation, but there are several peculiar characteristics that raise environmental challenges. Due to the natural conditions, most of the Black Sea is devoid of oxygen, making it the largest anoxic water basin in the world.
Only its thin surface layer contains oxygen, and it is here where almost all of its marine life dwells. In addition, all below 150-200 m depth represents a zone devoid of life, due to the permanent presence of the hydrogen sulphide and complete absence of oxygen.
These unique hydrological characteristics shape the condition of its biodiversity.
Pollution, loss of biodiversity and coastal degradation have been identified by scientists as the major issues affecting the environmental state of the Black Sea. The eutrophication phenomenon (over-fertilization by nutrients) is a degrading process, due to pollution from agricultural, domestic and industrial sources.
Black Sea environmental problems are closely related to its unique marine characteristics, but today’s science and technology can contribute to a better understanding of these challenges, aiming to protect its ecosystem.
Committed to invest in order to further understand the planet, the European Space Agency has commissioned TERRASIGNA for developing a Black Sea dedicated platform - ESPOSS - Earth Science Data Access and Processing Service for Black Sea.