Thursday, May 17, 2007

Caucasian Weather: Asia or Europe?

Is it Europe, or is it Asia? Quite literally, where is it on the map? On a rainy Saturday afternoon we took a look at online weather sites (we were looking for hope online), to check where the Caucasus ended up on alignments that cared little for political affiliations:

  • CNN Weather (above) sees the Caucasus as part of Asia. Al-Jazeera (below) agrees, and uses a weather map that mirrors CNN's overall design.

  • Accuweather also chooses Asia: in its drop-down menu, Georgia is listed between East Timor and India, while Armenia and Azerbaijan are framed by Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The same view is taken by a number of other sites, including Wetter-Online.
  •, a German site, believes that Georgia is part of Europe, but lists Armenia and Azerbaijan as being Asian. Curiously, Georgia is on the Asian map, but in the European list.
  • Yahoo Weather, powered by the Weather Channel and agrees that the Caucasus is Asia, but bizarrely has Turkmenistan in its European listing. Probably an intern was in charge.

The BBC Weather Site (above) offers a new perspective: it joins the Caucasus nicely into the Middle East. Visually, at least, this makes a good unit. Black Sea, Caspian, Gulf, Arabic Sea, Red Sea, Mediterranean. Seafarers come to mind. Maybe the geographic unit can also be explained by the BBC's large audience in India and Pakistan -- Asia just needs to be disaggregated as an entity.

There is, of course, a different vision, provided by the Russian weather service:

This world-view is unlikely to be very popular in the Caucasus. The site's forecast, however, is excellent.
  • Google Directory listings, by contrast, keep their options open: the Caucasus is listed both in Europe and in Asia. Listing side-steps the tough commitment of a map. This probably is the best compromise for a region in which categories run up against each other.
We also have compared forecasts. Sadly, on this, there was consensus: last weekend was rainy.

1 comment:

AaronE said...

In an interesting addendum to this post, the UN Population Division considers all of the Caucasus as Western Asia. Western Asia also includes Bahrain, Cyprus, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey,United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Interestingly, it does not include Iran, which is part of south-central Asia. My sentiment is that the Caucasus has trouble fitting theoretically into the category of Western Asia from a weather, population and many other perspectives.