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The Don River is the largest river in the southwestern part of European Russia and the second largest river system in European Russia. The Don River basin is one of the most water deficient regions in Russia and the long term average water usage in the basin amounts to 45%.

The period 2007-2016 was the longest long-term low-flow period observed, with an estimated total water resources deficit of 40.4 km3 over 8 years. The main reason for this deficit were anomalously warm winters (2-4 degrees over average) with a low degree of soil frost penetration. This resulted in low spring flood volume (37% of the average) due to heavy seepage losses combined with thin snow cover.

A similar low-flow situation was observed in 2014, when the drought caused great damage to ecosystem of Tsimlianskoye water reservoir and the River Don. Most of the fish breeding grounds had dried up by May 2014. This caused the number of round fish whitebait to drop 5-10 times below the 2002-2014 average. Inland shipping and hydropower industry also sustained losses of 42 million euro (according to interview from State Shipping company) due to low water level.

This study shows that the main reasons for the 2007-2016 extreme hydrological drought are exceptional hydro-climatic conditions and anthropogenic transformations in the watershed, such as urbanisation growth and afforestation. The analysis shows that the main cause in water deficit is associated with the left tributaries of Don – Khoper and Medveditsa, while the flow in Upper Don remained more or less normal. The results can be interpreted as a “warning sign” to reduce water consumption in these sub-basins to avoid similar drought situations in future. 

The paper reports on the results of the pollen, plant macrofossil and geochemical analyses and the AMS 14C-based chronology of the «Rüdersdorf» outcrop situated east of Berlin in Brandenburg (Germany). The postglacial landscape changed from an open one to generally forested by ca. 14 cal. kyr BP. Woody plants (mainly birch and pine) contributed up to 85% to the pollen assemblages ca. 13.4–12.5 cal. kyr BP. The subsequent Younger Dryas (YD) interval is characterized by a decrease in arboreal pollen (AP) to 75% but led neither to substantial deforestation nor spread of tundra vegetation. This supports the concept that the YD cooling was mainly limited to the winter months, while summers remained comparably warm and allowed much broader (than initially believed) spread of cold-tolerant boreal trees. Further support for this theory comes from the fact that the relatively low AP values persisted until ca. 10.6 cal. kyr BP, when the «hazel phase» of the regional vegetation succession began. The postglacial hunter-gatherer occupation is archaeologically confirmed in Brandenburg since ca. 13 cal. kyr BP, i.e. much later than in the western part of Germany and ca. 1000 years after the major amelioration in the Rüdersdorf environmental record.

Building of scientific basis for harmonious exploitation and spatial organization of the economy (land use) is one of the key issues of present-day geography. The study of land resources includes consideration of the relations between economic development, profitability and potential opportunities for further development of the territory, possibility of disturbed lands recovery and returning to the economic turnover, and preservation – all of those things which are necessary for human life worth living. Identification and analysis of land use types and forms is a necessary step of any economic-and-geographic study of a certain territory on the basis of statistical data and field survey. The creation of optimal land use schemes, taking into account the assessment of the conditions for certain types of management placement in given territory, has practical importance.

Geomorphic assessment of territorial resources is based on the theoretical concepts of the anthropogenic-and-geomorphic system as a special morpholithodynamic system consisting of natural and anthropogenic components (mineral and biological) that are interrelated not only by natural flows of matter, energy and information, but also by the structures of socio-technical management.

The problem of land valuation is particular important in old-cultivated areas, as it requires solutions to ensure rational use of territorial resources, with the greatest effect for the economy and with the least harm for nature, and preservation of the engineering, ecological and historical-and-cultural potential of the territories.

A “second nature” is formed on the urban territory with its own microclimate, vegetation, relief and soils, surface water and groundwater, and, what is highly important, with the elements of management. Both natural and natural-and-anthropogenic geosystems operation modeling, as well as the forecasting, is the basis for the territorial resources and natural-and-anthropogenic risks management.

This paper presents the logical model of the area natural conditions influence on the evolution of urban land, shows the ways of creating the model of comfortable environment, where all types of the place attractiveness – ecological, social and economic – should be balanced.

A constructive formula for the geomorphic assessment of territorial resources includes the synthesis of benefit and profit. That is an engineering and ecologic-and-geomorphic assessment of lands in terms of the convenience for some sort of economic activity, taking into account the ecologic-and-geomorphic restrictions, as well as the economic evaluation of the engineering site preparation, taking into account the availability of recreational and specially protected areas, as well as environmental insurance against adverse processes and phenomena – maintaining of favorable living conditions. 

The article gives an analysis of a unique data of the thermistor chain, which installed on the D-6 oil platform in the coastal zone of the Baltic Sea. In total 10 temperature sensors were installed at different depths with a recording interval of 1 min, the depth at the installation site was 29 m. Based on satellite data, ship measurements and thermistor chain observation the characteristics and dynamics of the sharp decrease in water temperature which registered in the south-eastern Baltic Sea (Gdansk Bay area), during June 5-12, 2016 are analyzed. The temperature decreasing caused by the simultaneous action of at least two factors: wind-driven Ekman upwelling and advection of cold water. Scales of temporal and spatial variability of water temperature in a coastal zone of the south-eastern Baltic Sea near the coast of the Kaliningrad region are described. This event led to the considerable SST drop by more than 8 °C for two days. The rate of reduction of its temperature during certain upwelling periods can reach 0.3-0.4 ºС per hour, but the maximum warming rate between phases varies from 0.25 to 0.28 ºС per hour. This dramatically changed the conditions of the thermal balance of the sea surface. The width of the upwelling, as seen in the SST data, was about 25 km. Satellite data were supplemented with data of a thermistor chain and CTD measurements. The high correlation between water temperature variability and changes in wind parameters: when the wind speed has decreased and its direction has changed, the response of the vertical thermal structure has occurred very quickly, sometimes within 1 hour. Thermistor chain data allow to evaluate the vertical temperature distribution and get more detailed analysis of temporal variability and short pulsations of upwelling.
This study aims to analyze the stable isotope composition of the snow cover of the Elbrus Mountain – the highest mountain in Europe. Snow sampled in the middle accumulation period in January 2017, February 2016, January 2001 and during snowmelt in July 1998 and August 2009. Snow sampled at the south slope of Mt. Elbrus at different elevations, and the total altitude range is approximately 1700 m. A significant altitude effect in fresh snow precipitation was determined in February 2001 with gradient –1.3‰ δ18O/100 m (–11.1‰ δ2 H /100 m) at 3100-3900 m a.s.l. and inverse altitude effect in February 2016 with gradient +1.04‰ δ18O /100 m (+8.7‰ δ2 H /100 m) at 3064-3836 m a.s.l. There is no obvious altitude effect of the δ2 H and δ18O values in snow at the Elbrus slope in 2017, except for the height range 2256-3716 m a.s.l., where altitudinal effect of δ18O values was roughly -0.32‰/100m. The δ18O values in the winter snowpack in some cases decrease with increasing altitude, but sometimes are not indicating a temperaturealtitude effect. Post-depositional processes cause isotopic changes, which can result from drifting, evaporation, sublimation, and ablation. The study of altitude effect in snow is important for understanding the processes of snow-ice and snow-meltwater transformation and the snow/ice potential to provide paleo-environmental data.

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ISSN 2071-9388 (Print)
ISSN 2542-1565 (Online)