Tuesday, September 30, 2014
"For the first time in modern history, the eastern basin of the South Aral Sea has completely dried."
That's the word from NASA, which has released images showing the progressive decline of the water levels in the Aral Sea, which straddles the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia. The space agency captured the striking photographs via its Terra satellite.
Once the world's fourth-largest lake, the Aral Sea has been broken apart and drying out since the 1950s and '60s, when the Soviet Union diverted two rivers, the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, to provide irrigation for farms. Another factor in this year's decline, experts say, is a drop in rain and snow levels in the lake's watershed. npr