Lake Chad: almost gone
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Maps sourced from a series of satellite images provided by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Uploaded 16 Feb 2012
Philippe Rekacewicz (Le Monde diplomatique), February 2006
Straddling the borders of Chad, Niger and Cameroon in West Africa, Lake Chad has been a source of freshwater for irrigation projects in each of these countries. Maps drawn from a series of satellite images show a dramatic decrease in the size of the lake over the past 30 years. Since 1963, the lake has shrunk to nearly a twentieth of its original size, due both to climatic changes and to high demands for agricultural water. Since 1963, the surface area of Lake Chad has decreased from approximately 25,000 km2 to 1,350 km2 (Scientific American, 2001).
The changes in the lake have contributed to local lack of water, crop failures, livestock deaths, collapsed fisheries, soil salinity, and increasing poverty throughout the region:
- Between June 1966 and January 1973, the surface area of Lake Chad shrunk from 22,772 km2 to 15,400 km2.
- In 1982, the lake’s surface area was estimated to be about 2,276 km2. In February 1994, Meteosat images measured it at just 1,756 km2.
- Between 195 ...