08 Jan '12, 10pm

#Climate Change: The vanishing Aral Sea

The Aral Sea, located in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in central Asia. Left: June 4, 1977. Center left: September 17, 1989. Center right: May 27, 2006. Right: June 3, 2009. Once one of the largest inland bodies of salty water in the world and the second largest sea in Asia — 70,000 square kilometers or 27,000 square miles in area — the Aral Sea has shrunk dramatically over the last 30 years. One of the main reasons is crop irrigation: water has been drawn off from the rivers that kept the Aral Sea filled. As the sea has shrunk, the local climate has become harsher, there have been contaminated dust storms, and drinking water and the local fishing industry have been lost. By the late 2000s, the Aral Sea had lost four fifths of its water volume. For additional images of the changing Aral Sea, see “Aral Gone Awry.”

Full article: http://climate.nasa.gov/imagesVideo/imagesOfChange/index.cfm

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