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The disappearance of the Aral Sea

The disappearance of the Aral Sea

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Uploaded 16 Feb 2012 by GRID-Arendal
Year: 2009
From collection: Vital Water Graphics 2
Author: GRIDA
Description:
The demise of the Aral Sea in central Asia was caused primarily by the diversion of the inflowing Amu Dar’ya and Syr Dar’ya rivers to provide irrigation water for local croplands. These diversions dramatically reduced the river inflows, causing the Aral Sea to shrink by more than 50%, to lose two-thirds of its volume, and to greatly increase its salinity. At the current rate of decline, the Aral Sea has the potential to disappear completely by 2020 (Pidwirny, 1999). - In 1963, the surface of the Aral Sea measured 66,100 km2, with an average depth of 16 m and a maximum depth of 68 m. The salt content was 1%. During the 1960s, upstream irrigation schemes for growing rice and cotton consumed 90% of the natural flow of water from the Tian Shan Mountains. - By 1987, 27,000 km2 of former sea bottom of the Aral Sea had become dry land; about 60% volume had been lost, its depth had declined by 14 m, and its salt concentration had doubled. - Today, about 200,000 tonnes of salt and ...
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