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Aral Sea shrinking continues

A newly released satellite image from NASA shows that nearly nothing remains of one part of the once proud Aral Sea.

Irrigation projects started by the Soviet Union in the 1960s led to the sea shrinking hugely, eventually splitting into northern and southern halves. The latter later split again into an eastern and a western body of water.

aral sea aug 2009.jpg

Now this 16 August shot from the NASA’s Terra satellite shows that “virtually nothing” is left of the southern sea’s eastern lobe.

“Although the Northern Aral Sea still appears healthy, the Southern Aral Sea consists of two isolated water bodies: an irregular oval shape directly southwest of the Northern Aral Sea, and the long, thin remainder of the Southern Aral Sea’s far western lobe,” says NASA. “Although the faintest glimmers of blue-green appear in the eastern lobe, earth tones predominate, surrounded by a ghostly film of pale beige.”

NASA’s Earth Observatory also has a rather sad video of the shrinking of the Aral sea.

Image: Jesse Allen / NASA


  1. Report this comment

    Kevin Mike said:

    The volume of this sea has fallen by 90 per cent over 40 years because of mismanaged irrigation. Salt and chemicals have accumulated to create an ecological disaster linked to a rise in disease.

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