The Asian Marginal and Enclosed Seas: An Overview

  • Vittorio BaraleEmail author


An astonishing variety of marginal basins ranging from polar to equatorial regions, and a few sizeable enclosed basins, can all be encompassed among the Asian Seas. The Arctic Ocean near-coastal zones off Siberia, the semi-enclosed basins of the Pacific Ocean western rim, the coastal seas of the northernmost Indian Ocean, the Red Sea as well as the easternmost reaches of the Mediterranean Sea and Black sea, the Caspian Sea, the remnants of the Aral Sea and other brackish or freshwater lakes, such as Lake Balkhash and Lake Baykal, exhibit a multiplicity of environmental features and processes. The diversity of the Asian seascapes, which range from permafrost cliffs to mangrove forests, and include wide gulfs and island groups, shallow estuaries, ship-congested straits, and some of the most crowded coastal regions in the world, where millions rely on fish for much of their protein, is an appropriate match to the continent’s variety of political, economic and social systems. Understanding the peculiarities of such a large collection of marine and coastal zones, managing and exploiting the wealth of resources that the Asian Seas have to offer, requires integrated observation systems, among which orbital remote sensing must play an essential role.


Asian Seas Asian seascapes Marginal seas Enclosed seas 



The present review was carried out at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission (EC), as part of research undertaken in the Horizon 2020 Action SEACOAST. The author wishes to express his gratitude to all JRC Colleagues who contributed to this activity. Thanks are also due to M. Gade, Institute of Oceanography, University of Hamburg, for his editorial review of the final paper, and to two anonymous reviewers, whose input allowed the author to improve substantially several sections of the original paper. Images and data were derived, in part, from the Global Marine Information System (GMIS) of the JRC EC.


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Copyright information

© European Union 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Commission, Joint Research CentreIspraItaly

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