The eastern basin of the Aral Sea has completely dried up for the first time in history. NASA claims that the lake has been slowing drying up since the 1960’s the Soviet government began diverting water in the area for agriculture.
The basin has been shrinking, but this summer it dried up much faster than it has in previous years.
“This is the first time the eastern basin has completely dried in modern times,” Philip Micklin, a geographer emeritus from Western Michigan University and an Aral Sea expert, told NASA. “And it is likely the first time it has completely dried in 600 years, since Medieval desiccation associated with diversion of Amu Darya to the Caspian Sea.”
— NASA (@NASA) September 30, 2014
Scientists believe that the lake dried up as a result of climate change. The lake water is replenished with rain and snow, but the area has not seen much of either this year, at least not as much as usual. Irrigation is also a major factor in the water loss.
— TIME.com (@TIME) September 30, 2014
As the lake dries up, it could have devastating effects on the region. So far the changes have already caused the seasons in the region to become more extreme.
How the Aral Sea dried up into a desert so quickly is still one of natures biggest mysteries to this day. pic.twitter.com/xHl5xjC3qY
— Unexplained World (@Unexplainedpicz) September 8, 2014
Scientists are concerned that other lakes could dry up in similar ways in the coming years. They believe that if the irrigation issues are not fixed, the entire lake will eventually dry up.
What do you think caused the basin to dry up so quickly?