Earth’s lakes are rapidly becoming shallow

A few days ago, NASA unveiled astounding satellite pictures of the Aral Sea in Central Asia. Once the aral sea was the fourth largest lake on the planet however over the past 50 years, the pond has almost completely dried up, including due to the shortsighted agrarian policy of the soviet authorities trying create efficient desert farms.

Aral Sea, August 2014. Gray outlined borders lakes for 1960. © NASA

A photo from open sources

Aral Sea – once a magnificent reservoir stretching over 26.3 thousand square miles, now it seems almost completely dried up, reports Discovery portal.

The shallowing of the lake began after Soviet engineers began to divert water from the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers, the main rivers region for irrigation created in the 1950-60s farms in the desert. This is the first time in modern history when it is completely dry eastern part of the reservoir basin.

However, the Aral Sea is only one of a number of iconic inland waters, which are now sharply smaller.

So, for example, Poyanhu Lake – the largest freshwater lake China – also gradually fading. The reason is not only drought, but and regular water abstraction for the Three Gorges Dam. Chinese experts note that as the shallowing of Lake Poyanhu disappears and nearby swamps, where 87 species of birds winter, including 98% populations of Siberian cranes.

A photo from open sources

Meanwhile, the Iranian lake Urmia, once included in the number Earth’s largest salt lakes decreased by 80% in recent ten years. The reason, along with climate change, is expansion of irrigation systems for farms and increase in the number of dams on the rivers that supply water for these systems.

A photo from open sources

Another telling example is the Dead Sea, located on the border of Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian autonomy. Increasingly, karst funnels form on the shores of the lake. According to experts, this is due to the derivation of the river Jordan, which locals use for drinking water, and due to the fact that chemical companies extract valuable water from minerals. As a result, surface levels retreated over the past years by 30-40%.

A photo from open sources

There are also examples of endangered lakes in the USA. So swiftly California’s Kachuma Lake is shrinking – the main source of fresh water for residents of Santa Barbara. This is due to a catastrophic drought, which the region is experiencing for the second year in a row, and provoked by it increased demand for water.

Mysteriously swept Lake Wayo in Hawaii. Literally for for five years, the water level in it fell to 2% of the norm. This anomaly scientists cannot explain yet.

Water Time China NASA

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