Aral Sea in 1990, 2000 and 2010

Aral Sea in 1990, 2000 and 2010

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Credit: PLANETOBSERVER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Aral Sea in 1990, 2000 and 2010. Satellite images showing the shrinking of the Aral Sea from 1990 (left), through 2000 (centre) to 2010 (right) . This inland lake is found between Uzbekistan (west) and Kazakhstan (east) and used to be the fourth largest lake in the world. Since the 1960s it has lost more than half of its volume. This is due to overuse of the feeder rivers (the Syr Darya and Amu Darya) in irrigation of cotton and paddy fields, and a severe drought that lasted from 2006 to 2009. In 2014, for the first time, the sea's eastern basin was completely dry.

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