Aral Sea

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Overview:

Recently, NASA's Earth Observatory posted a detailed analysis of the reason behind Aral Sea's disappearance.

About Aral Sea

  • It stands at the boundary between Kazakhstan to the north and Uzbekistan to the south.
  • It was once a large saltwater lake of Central Asia and the world’s fourth largest body of inland water.
  • The remnants of it nestle in the climatically inhospitable heart of Central Asia, to the east of the Caspian Sea.
  • The Aral Sea depression was formed toward the end of the Neogene Period (which lasted from about 23 to 2.6 million years ago). 
  • It was made by waters from the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya rivers that were dependent on glacial melt.
  • It drains Uzbekistan and portions of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Kyrgyzstan.
  • Climate: The Aral Sea is located within the harsh climate region of Central Asia. The area experiences a desert-continental climate, characterized by hot summers, cold winters, and varying diurnal air temperature.
  • Reason for its disappearance
  • According to the space agency, in 1960 the Soviet Union undertook a major water diversion project where they diverted the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya rivers for irrigation projects.
  • Though the project made the desert region surrounding the sea bloom, it had a devastating impact on the Aral Sea.
  • The waterbody slowly started drying up and today it is on the verge of complete disappearance.

Q1) What is Evaporation?

Evaporation is the process by which a liquid turns into a gas. It is also one of the three main steps in the global water cycle.

Source: How climate change is accelerating the ‘decades-long demise’ of the Aral Sea