General physical geographical description 

Each year the Black Sea receives about 350 cubic kilometers of river water from a territory covering roughly a third of continental Europe and including substantial parts of eighteen: the littoral states plus Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovakia and Slovenia. The second, third and fourth largest rivers in Europe, the Danube, the Dnieper and the Don, flow into the Black Sea.

coastlineThe Black Sea coastline is not indented much and there are few islands in the sea. The Pontian Mountains and the Caucasus rise to the south and southeast of the basin. To the north and northwest there are vast planes, through which the big rivers run. The relief of the seabed is devoid of any pronounced characteristics: in the north the sea is shallow and south of the line Varna – Yalta – Caucasus it is an oval depression.

The Black Sea area is under the influence of two climate zones: the moderate in the north and the Mediterranean in the south. In winter strong northern and northeastern winds blow over the sea, while in summer the weather is predominantly stable and clear, with gentle winds. The key to the unique character of the Black Sea and its particularly vulnerable environmental state is in the sea hydrology, especially the peculiarities of the sea’s oxygen and hydrogen sulphide zone.

General physical geographic data:

  • Area:  422 000 square kilometers or about 0,12 % of the world oceans
    Greatest length along the parallel 42î12’ N: 1148 km
    Greatest width along the meridian 31î12‘ E: 615 km
  • Catchment basin area: over 2 million square km
  • Maximum depth: 2 212 m
    Average depth: 1 300 m
    Seasonal level variations: up to 20 cm 
  • Volume: about 540 000 square km
    Volume of the hydrogen sulphide zone: 87%
    Volume of the oxygen zone: 13%
  • Wave height: up to 6 – 7 m
    Wave length: up to 90 – 100 m
    Tidal variations: 3 – 10 cm
  • Salinity of seawater at the surface: 18 ‰
    Salinity of seawater at the bottom: 22 ‰
  • Mean average winter temperatures of seawater: 4îÑ
    Mean average summer temperatures of seawater: 22 – 24îÑ 
  • The largest bays: Karkinitski, Bourgas, Kalamitski, Dneprovski, Dnestrovski, Synop, Samsun etc.
    The largest capes: Kimburn, Kherson, Sarich, Ingeburnu, Kerempeburnu, Emine, Kaliakra etc.
    The largest islands: Jarilchach, Zmeini etc.
  • The largest rivers flowing into the Black Sea: the Danube, the Dniester, the Dnieper, the Don, the Kuban, the Souther Bug, the Rioni, the Kazilirmak, the Kamchia etc.