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The Caspian Sea, like the  Aral Sea,  Black Sea,  Lake Urmia, and Lake Van, is a remnant of the ancient  Paratethys Sea. It became landlocked about 5.5 million years ago due to  tectonic uplift and a fall in  sea level. During warm and dry climatic periods, the landlocked sea almost dried up, depositing  evaporitic sediments like  halite that were covered by wind-blown deposits and were sealed off as an  evaporate sink when cool, wet climates refilled the basin. One of the most vulnerable ecosystems to climate change is the enclosed and inland seas.

The climate change trends observed in these waters are generally more complex than that characteristic for the open ocean. The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed inland  body of water on  earth by area, variously classed as the  world's largest lake or a full-fledged  sea. It is in an  endorheic basin (it has no outflows) and located between  Europe and  Asia. It is bounded to the northeast by  Kazakhstan, to the northwest by  Russia, to the west by  Azerbaijan, to the south by  Iran, and to the southeast by  Turkmenistan. It is now -28 m below the normal sea level.

Due to the current inflow of fresh water, the Caspian Sea is a  freshwater lake in its northern portions. It is more saline on the Iranian shore, where the catchment basin contributes little flow. Currently, the mean salinity of the Caspian is one third that of the earth's oceans. The  Karabogazgöl  embayment, which dried up when water flow from the main body of the Caspian was blocked in the 1980s but has since been restored, routinely exceeds oceanic salinity by a factor of 10.

The Aral Sea was an  endorheic lake lying between  Kazakhstan ( Aktobe and  lt Kyzylorda provinces) in the north and  Uzbekistan ( lt Karakalpakstan autonomous region) in the south. The name roughly translates as "Sea of Islands", referring to over 1,100 islands that once dotted its waters; in  lt Old Turkic Aral means "island". The Aral Sea  drainage basin encompasses Uzbekistan and parts of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The shrinking of the Aral Sea has been called "one of the planet's worst environmental disasters".  The region's once-prosperous fishing industry has been essentially destroyed, bringing unemployment and economic hardship. The Aral Sea region is also heavily polluted, with consequential serious  public health problems. The departure of the sea has reportedly also caused local climate change, with summers becoming hotter and drier, and winters colder and longer.
In the late 1990s, Lake Urmia, in north-western  Iran, was twice as large as Luxembourg and the largest salt-water lake in the Middle East. Since then it has shrunk substantially, and was sliced in half in 2008, with consequences uncertain to this day, by a 15-km causeway designed to shorten the travel time between the cities of Urmia and Tabriz. Historically, the lake attracted migratory birds including flamingos, pelicans, ducks and egrets. It
s drying up, or desiccation, is undermining the local food web, especially by  destroying one of the worlds largest natural habitats of the brine shrimp Artemia, a hardy species that can tolerate  salinity levels of 340 grams per litre, more than eight times saltier than ocean water. Desiccation will increase the frequency of salt storms that sweep across the exposed lakebed, diminishing the productivity of surrounding agricultural lands and encouraging farmers to move away. Poor air, land, and water quality all have  serious health effects including respiratory and eye diseases.
As a starting point of the proposed Project by the Riparian Countries of the Caspian Sea on a theme of “Dynamics of the Caspian Sea Water Level Fluctuations During Holocene Until the Present Affected by the Climate Change: Impact on the Ecology and Socio-Economics of the Region”, the aim is to increase the exchange of the international scientific cooperation on Caspian Sea, Aral Sea, and Urmia and Van lakes. This International Conference “Understanding the Problems of Inland Waters: Case Study for the Caspian Basin" will take place in Baku during 12-14 May 2018.

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